An unholy war is brewing between gospel star Rebecca Malope and her longtime collaborator Sizwe Zako.
The 60-year-old producer has accused Malope of failing to pay him R20,000 that she agreed to pay for four songs they worked on together for her upcoming album.
Talking to Sowetan, in distress yesterday, Zako said he was unable to pay his sound engineer R7,000 owed to him for the project.
Zako explained that he was approached by Malope to contribute to her upcoming Easter album, but to save costs he suggested they record everything at his Midrand home studio.
“She was excited when she came to my place and heard the melodies. On the spot she calls a studio,” he said.
“The studio tells her the price to record the songs and she ended up complaining about it being expensive.
“That’s when I suggested that we do some of the work at my studio.”
According to Zako, they recorded the songs over two days in the first week of last month.
He added that Malope has been avoiding his calls for two weeks.
“Last time we spoke she said she needed two more songs from me. When Senzo Meyiwa and Lundi Tyamara died I wrote songs for her to sing at their funerals,” he said
“She wanted us to include those songs in the upcoming album because people were calling for the songs to be recorded.”
Zako said they also recorded in a different studio for four days with the Soweto Gospel Choir for the same project and Malope paid for that studio.
“She never complained about the song and she was glad to say ‘I have Soweto Gospel Choir’ and they just won a Grammy,” he said.
Zako continued to state that he now hears from industry peers that Malope is telling people behind his back that she does not like the songs.
“Everything has been going well. She could have sat me down and said ‘I think this is not working’,” he said
“For the years that we worked together our working relationship has been a success as the whole country knows.
“I don’t know what got into her. There has never been a big fight.
“I’m worried about this young man (sound engineer) pressuring me to pay.”
Malope couldn’t be reached for comment yesterday as her phone just kept ringing.
Her daughter and manager, Noluthando Malope, said: “I know that story, but it’s definitely not that way. They are still in studio and busy with that because the songs are supposed to be in her upcoming album.
“It’s not even a complete project until the
album is complete.
“Let me give her a call and if she’s not in studio then you can talk to her.”
Noluthando later replied to our SMS message: “She is still in studio. Her phone is just ringing. I’ve sent her a text asking that she call me back urgently.
“Will let you know as soon as she calls,” she said.