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Sunday, January 19, 2020


(Steve Fataar)

Steve Fataar, the legendary South African musician who created the band The Flames and is described by well-known guitarist Tony Cox as “a rocker and gent of note”, has died at the age of 76. He performed at Zachs in Durban on Friday night and died in the early hours of yesterday morning (Saturday, January 18, 2020).

“A sad and ironic way to depart this life but we should look at it as a kind of celebration,” says artSMart’s editor, Caroline Smart. “That last performance will remain an indelible memory to friends and colleagues, even if they weren’t present.”

The following is an extract from the tribute carried by The Mercury:

“According to media reports, Fataar suffered from lung complications, although the exact cause of death is yet to be confirmed.

In 2014, Fataar had fallen ill and during an interview with the Daily News, Fataar said the fans kept him going.

Fataar had been rushed to the RK Khan Hospital in Chatsworth after having difficulty breathing. At the time, he said he had contracted pneumonia and the flu in one week while he was in hospital.

Despite being ill, Fataar signed autographs for nurses, doctors and his fans.

Later on in the same year, Fataar's music buddies held a benefit concert for him because of his health issues. The concert included a host of musicians, including The Reals, The Hairy-Legged Lentil Eaters and Graham Boyle and Spider Murch. Fataar and his son, Dane also featured in the line-up.

Fataar was well-known for playing at various concerts and events with his band, The Flames - which was known for their hit, For Your Precious Love.

Many of his friends, family and fans took to social media on Saturday to express their condolences on his passing.”

The feelings and respect that Fataar generated from colleagues, friends and audiences can be seen from the outpourings of sadness on Facebook. Here is just a small selection of the comments:

Mageshan Naidoo (guitarist): Steve was so kind and nurturing. He achieved international stardom in the days when it was impossible for the majority of musicians in South Africa! He was an inspiration to me

Tim Wells (former Durban actor now living in UK): R.I.P. Steve Fataar legendary musician and a gentle unassuming down-to-earth man of amazing experience. Played music right up to his final few hours in this life. Rest well Steve!

Barry Thomson (guitarist): R.I.P. Steve... thank you for the love and respect you always showed to me. And countless others.

Derrick Mlambo (leader of the Kolwa Brothers): RIP STEVE FATAAR, my brother. Thank you very much for your contribution towards the development of the Kholwa Brothers. I will always remember the song that we did with you at UKZN and ZACKS. We wish to convey our deepest condolences to your family.

Jayshree Parasuramen (radio presenter): We are blessed as artists by those who came before us. He paved the way and taught us life lessons in this industry.

Jason Andrew (guitarist): Count myself fortunate to have shared a good few stages with Steve Fataar. These are good memories. Learnt some stuff when these gigs happened.

Fiona Tozer (musician): Respect! Steve Fataar you had the courage to dedicate your life to the music, and on the way helped so many other musicians. Always the gentleman, Durban will miss you.

Philani Ngidi (guitarist). Thank you, Steve, for the great memories. You performed till your last day. I will miss our jam sessions and our tequila and naartjie. Rest in Peace

Ian Ewok Robinson (actor, mural artist): Roll In Peace, brother Steve Fataar. Your influence on the early days of Durban hip hop, creating stages for us young heads, putting us on whenever you were rocking, just being the humble soulful dude you are, so many memories you helped us make, so many fires you kept burning. Being embraced by a legend, in all of your humbleness, was a lesson in life I will carry with me always. Salute, Capitano! Mad love, mad respect, much fire

Joey Fourie, owner of music venue The Daily Music Show in Cape Town and close friend of Fataar’s, has revealed that a documentary on the life of the legendary musician is "in the works".