SA entertainers remember Madiba

South African entertainers have shared their fond memories of the late Nelson Mandela.

South Africans pay tribute to former president Nelson Mandela on Oxford Road in Johannesburg. Picture: Lesego Ngobeni/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Celebrities and entertainers have sent their condolences to the Mandela family following the passing of the statesman.

Nelson Mandela passed away peacefully at his Houghton home in Johannesburg on Thursday night.

He was surrounded by his family.

Earlier this year, he spent three months in hospital due to a recurring lung infection.

In the wake of Madiba's death, some of South Africa's top entertainers and personalities took some time to reflect on the 'Madiba Magic' and the moments they were privileged to share with him.

Ross of Prime Circle reminisced about the lighthearted moments he shared with Madiba.

"The thing I remember the most about him was his humour. When we met him the first time he said he wanted to drum for the band. We always wanted him to join the band. That would have been awesome."

Comedian Marc Lottering told KFM's Ryan O'Connor that even though the world knew this was coming, "One can never ever prepare yourself for this actual moment."

He added that he did not joke about Madiba in his comedy.

"For me as one of the comedians in South Africa, there are certain things in your comedy that you just don't touch on in a negative way."

Even though he only met him once at an event in Johannesburg, Lottering said that he instinctively knew that he had met someone amazing.

"He was at an event where I was performing up in Johannesburg. But when you're in a room with him, you do know that you're meeting an extraordinary person. You do know that you are meeting someone who is just on another level."

RnB musician Danny K spoke to KFM about his reaction on hearing the news.

"I'm devastated but also relieved that Madiba is finally at rest. What a life he led! What a precedent and example for mankind. He went above and beyond what one expected."

The singer, who has been a part of Madiba's 46664 movement for many years, had many opportunities to witness the effect that the former statesman had on people.

"You can only stand back and be amazed and applaud his contribution to this planet. He shattered any preconceived idea you might have had of him, it was like meeting one's grandfather. He was also very charming to the ladies; any lady that was around him was putty in his hands!"

Cape Town band Good Luck says Madiba influenced a lot of their music.

"It's an incredible honour to have been around and to have lived through this amazing chapter. It's a privilege to make music in this country and to have an inspiration like Mandela," said member Ben.

Sadness could be heard in actress Shaleen Surtie Richards' voice as she described how she found out the news.

"I'm feeling very, very, very sad. But Madiba was tired, he needed to rest and yet it still hurts so much that he is not alive anymore."

She shared some very poignant words.

"He put us on a path of love and forgiveness and we need to follow through with everything that he wanted for us - all of us as South Africans."

Music legend PJ Powers told 567 Cape Talk's Kieno Kammies about her reaction to the news of Madiba's passing.

"I'm a bit numb; I got the call at 2am saying that he had passed away. I just feel numb now. I feel so incredibly sad."

She said they were good friends.

"Madiba and I started a relationship - a relationship that started while he was in prison actually. He was an incredible man: he was such a complete individual and he had an amazing sense of humour."

Powers also added that she truly was in awe of Madiba and his gracious character.

She shares how Tata Madiba once wrote to her from prison.

"He was just this all-round, wonderful, wonderful human being."

Musician Johnny Clegg spoke about his famous "anthem of hope" song Asimbonanga, a song he wrote for Mandela.

"I wrote it in 1986 during the first state of emergency. We were all feeling very down. We had just heard quite a bleak report on what was going on in South Africa and my dad and I were rehearsing in Braamfontein and we stopped and we just started talking about South Africa."

Clegg tells of how the initial musical inspiration for the song took place in a really organic way.

"It was lunch time and after our discussion they went off to buy food for lunch and I stayed in the rehearsal room and this melody came out. I took it home, worked on it, polished it and about a week later I had the beginning of a good chorus and then a week later I had my verse and the song was born."

Clegg said the song sort of became a popular political symbol "it became a very popular song at UDF meetings, at burials of activists who had been shot during that period."