Local gospel star Mpho Victor "Rigalo" Gangashe.
South African gospel music lovers, especially those from Limpopo and Vhembe in particular, are still in shock, following the death of local gospel star Mpho Victor "Regalo" Gangashe.
According to Gangashe's uncle, Mr Mushayathoni Mutobvu, the artist and his mother, Ms Violet Tshilidzi Gangashe (49), died in a vehicle accident between Bandelierkop and Louis Trichardt last Friday. Regalo was travelling in an Audi with his mother and his wife, Londolani Tsanwanai, when their vehicle collided head-on with another vehicle.
According to Mr Matodzi Makananise, founder and leader of the Fame Awards, Regalo came back from Gauteng in order to attend the awards scheduled for Saturday evening at Polokwane. He was also scheduled to perform during the ceremony.
"I last spoke with Regalo on Friday afternoon and he told me he was eager to attend the event. He even told me about the nice suit he had bought specifically for the event. It was a shock when Takie Ndou called on Saturday morning to inform me about Regalo's death," says Makananise.
Makananise added that Regalo was voted the best male artist in Limpopo by the public. He beat well-known artists like Benny Mainganye and Chima, who was voted as the best artist during the Metro awards. Regalo also competed in the category for best gospel artist, but he was beaten by Winnie Mashaba.
"This was Regalo's first award in music. It is good that people voted him as the best male artist in all categories in Limpopo. I hope that, wherever he is, he is happy," says Makananise.
His uncle, Mutobvu, described Regalo as a peace-loving person who loved his family, community and the country at large. "He was totally against the abuse of alcohol and drugs. He used his music to educate the community about the importance of living a clean life.
Regalo was born on April 26, 1986. He started his schooling at Makonde Primary and also attended Raluvhimba Secondary, also in Makonde. He studied information technology at Mangosotho Technikon and, after completing his diploma, he worked for several companies until two years ago, when he joined i-Lab, an independent software testing company as a senior technical testing analyst.
Regalo started singing at school. He released his first album, Testimony in 2012. His second album and DVD, I am A winner, was recorded in December 2013.
He is survived by his wife, Londolani (27), who is still in hospital, daughter Rialivhuwa Gangashe, who will be turning three in September, sister Rinae Lewis and brothers Lucky and Lutendo Lewis.
Chief Thinawanga Randima, of Khubvi, where he comes from, says he is very shocked by Regalo's death, and another gospel artist from Limpopo, Takie Ndou, stated that he was still confused and hurt. "He was my friend and colleague. I don't know what to say," said Ndou, who last spoke to Regalo on Friday night, shortly before the accident.
A memorial service for Regalo was held in Pretoria on Wednesday and another service will take place at Khubvi today (Friday). The funeral will be held at Khubvi tomorrow (Saturday) and it will start at 06:00.