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THEY say there are telltale signs when someone is about to breathe their last, but this was not the case for Bulawayo-based music producer Joe Maseko.
Maseko died at the age of 44 at a Luveve clinic after a short illness last Saturday and was buried on Wednesday at Luveve Cemetery.
This illness, which had been nagging him for the past months, made him cancel some recording sessions three weeks ago.
According to friends and family, Maseko seemed to have recovered from the sickness that would at times leave him in shortness of breath.
But for people who were working with him, his death was so sudden that they were caught by surprise even on the fateful day — Saturday November 10, 2018.
Simbarashe Kodzai (K.O.D) who was with him on the day, is an up-and-coming house music producer and had been working closely with Maseko since 2012, learning how to produce music at his studios, House of Rising Sounds.
On the fateful day KOD was holding a recording session with gospel imbube group Men of Influence which started at around 10AM.
“While we were setting up we discussed a lot of things about life, such as what the future holds and that he wanted to extend the studio. Also what was important to him was that he was planning to buy groceries for the needy and elderly in Gwabalanda and he normally did this in December. He had passion to give to people. So Men of Influence came into the studio and we set up for them. Bra Joe stepped out saying he wasn’t feeling well and would join us later,” said KOD.
He said while they were recording they heard a hair-raising scream from outside by his niece named Selu and they ran out of the studio.
“At around 4PM when I was in the studio I heard his niece Selu scream! That shocked me to the core and I immediately stopped the recording and went outside. When I got there I saw Bra Joe and he was in a bad state. He was in pain clutching at his chest and breathing heavily. His brother Godfrey immediately organised him to be rushed to the clinic where he passed on,” said KOD.
Men of Influence’s spokesperson Mthandazo Nyoni said getting hold of Maseko was hard as he was always busy.
However, on Thursday last week he told them to come to his studio to record because he was free.
So they arrived at 10AM and started recording songs of their yet to be named 10- track album and witnessed the demise of Maseko.
“Myself, Polite Nsingo and Mlindeli Moyo the lead vocalist were inside the studio recording with Simba (KOD). The guys who do bass were outside as they had finished their parts.
“They say that they saw what happened. Maseko had gone out with his brother Godfrey in the car and when they returned later on in the day, when he stepped out of the car he said he was going to join us in the studio. He went into the toilet and there he started vomiting. As he was vomiting, blood was trickling out of the drainage,” said Nyoni.
“When his mother and niece heard that he was vomiting a lot, they came out of the house and checked on him in the toilet. When they saw that he was spewing blood, his niece Selu let out a scream that shocked us in the studio. We ran out to see what was happening and Joe was coughing, vomiting out lumps of blood. It was a chilling sight.”
Nyoni said Maseko’s death came as a surprise to him as he did not show any signs that he was going to breathe his last.
“We never thought he would pass away. When he was in the car before he was taken to the clinic and while people were panicking and screaming he was just calm. Even when you looked into his eyes they looked alert. So we left the house after he was taken to the clinic for treatment as we had to go to a show. We then heard later on that he had died, and that came to us as a shock,” said Nyoni.
Maseko’s brother Godfrey said they spent the whole day together as he took him out on a drive to town as a way for him to have a breath of fresh air.
In their travel to Hillcrest and other places in Bulawayo they talked a lot according to Godfrey and his brother did not show any signs of being ill or weak. It was when they got to their family home that Joe, started vomiting and he rushed him to hospital where he died.
“When I saw that his condition was serious I took him to the clinic in my car. Along the way you could see that he wasn’t feeling well, but I had hope. And when we got there the health staff quickly took over and tried to take care of him. But he became unconscious at the clinic they tried everything. He had a pulse but at the end of the day he died,” said Godfrey.
He said his brother had been suffering from bronchitis.
Now that Maseko has passed on the question for many artistes is what will happen to their unfinished projects.
KOD said they should not despair as their port of call was to finish off the projects that Maseko had left behind and then continue his legacy at House of Rising Sounds.