Collins Chabane: A man of many talents

Collins Chabane was not just an astute politician, but also a talented musician.

FILE: The Minister of Public Service and Administration Collins Chabane. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - Public Service and Administration Minister Collins Chabane's younger brother, Percy, says the family is devastated by his sudden death and hopes it will lead to further debate about road safety in South Africa.

The family has also expressed sadness at the death of Chabane's bodyguards, Lesiba Sekele and Lawrence Lentsoane, who had served him for years.

Chabane and his two protection officers died in a car accident on the N1 highway between Mokopane and Polokwane in the early hours of yesterday.

This morning, Percy shared some intimate stories about his brother.

"I was growing up when my brother had left for exile. And I was told that he had joined Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), I didn't know what MK was. They said [MK was being] a tourist, and I said I want to be tourist when I grow up."

He says the family is deeply grateful for the support.

"We really appreciate the condolences that are pouring in for the family, his wife and children. We are taking those kindly."

At the same time, senior African National Congress (ANC) leader Jessie Duarte says Chabane was the "go to minister" whenever serious or complicated matters needed to be dealt with.

"He will be very hard to replace, because he had a commitment for the work that he did which was way and beyond the call of duty."


Chabane wasn't just an astute politician, but also a talented musician.

Watch: Minister Chabane's performance by clicking below.

Chabane had a band called 'Movement' and played with big names such as Salif Keita and Hugh Masakela.

He was 17-years-old when he joined the ANC, he spent years in exile in Swaziland, Mozambique and Angola.

While serving 10-years for terrorism on Robben Island, he taught himself to play the harmonica and guitar and studied music theory.

Later, Zimbabwean musician Thomas Mapfumo taught him to play the Imbira or finger piano, and he formed the band, Movement.

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said, "He was honoured for his contribution to indigenous music by the South African music rights organisation (Samro)."

But by 2005 Chabane's work for the ANC and government was all consuming.

He always said music came second to his love for politics, but he championed its power to bring people together.

@leetokhoza @ewnupdates #COSATU We send our sympathy, condolences & best wishes to Chabane family, the Sergeants families& Alliance partners

R.I.P Comrade, serving with you was indeed an honor, our country and its people are poorer without you.

#CollinsChabane: We mourn the deaths of Minister Chabane's two protectors, Sergeants Lentsoane & Sekele of the SAPS. - @MmusiMaimane