‘He had that magic quality’: Andile Gumbi celebrated as a king on earth

Johannesburg – Andile Gumbi was a king on earth. 

These were the sentiments shared by many of the speakers who came to pay tribute to him at his memorial service held at Assemblies of God in Sandton on Wednesday afternoon.

Speakers included colleagues of Gumbi from the productions he was part of over the years including musicals The Lion King, King Kong and Sarafina.

Gumbi died two weeks ago after a short illness while in Israel performing in Daniel The Musical. Gumbi, 36, suffered a heart attack after being in a coma for a week.

Joe Niemand, director of the Daniel musical said Gumbi was meant for the role.

"Andile was part of not just a commercial project, it was ordained by God."

Industry colleagues spoke of the Gumbi they knew who would always sing on set and easily make friends. 

Bomb Shelter’s Desiree Markgraaff said Gumbi walked in humility and took on the role of Zweli on Isibaya with ease.

"He had that magic quality, not just striking looks, he had that magic thing called screen presence. We saw what a great talent he was on stage, over the course of three years the role challenged him and took him on a journey as he became a man."

The church in Sandton was filled with industry colleagues, friends and family. Musical items and tributes came from Gumbi’s cast members from Lion King, King Kong and Sarafina. Recently Gumbi was part of the SABC 1 production Makoti and also landed a role on Rhythm City.

His cast mates from Uswelo, a Zulu production coming soon to the television screens reflected on a life well lived.

"Are you fulfilling your purpose. It is not about what you have on earth but about what legacy you leave behind," said Simphiwe Ngema.

Gumbi was also part of a production that recently won the jury award at a local festival in Cape Town.

His lead role in the production- Letter Reader- will also be in cinemas soon.

Gumbi’s manager Brian Mauku said he found it hard to have words at a time like this.

"The most important thing is that you know you will always be in my heart. All I can say is thank you for being in my scenes. For all the moments I will always light a candle at sunrise and sunset and remember you. God speed my friend."

Gumbi’s friend Thabo Gwadiso was with him in Israel when he fell ill.

"It was that quick. He fell ill on a Tuesday and I took him to the hospital. On Wednesday he fell into a coma."

Gumbi will be buried at the Anglican Church in Umlazi, KwaZulu-Natal, on Saturday.

The Star

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