Popular comedian John Nyanga better known as Izeki was an entertainer and he, alongside his longtime friend, Eric Mabedi alias Jakobo moved souls with their fantastic and exciting jokes.
Starring as Izeki and Jakobo, a brand that was very rich, they pulled massive audiences during their performances and they always sent audiences into stitches.
But Tuesday, Izeki dragged thousands of people from all circles of life which included traditional leaders, politicians, students, religious leaders and fellow artists to Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre and later HHI Cemetery not to entertain them with his jokes but to bid them farewell having closed his chapter on earth.
The whistling sounds of the birds in the sky singing at exactly 3:05pm as the remains of Izeki were being interred seemed to attest that this was a star that stood out in the world of comedy.
Izeki was a comedian extraordinaire, whose presence on stage, even without uttering any word, would send people into laughter.
Izeki who died on Sunday at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre was buried just a few metres from where songstress Grace Chinga was buried.
Yesterday was the end of the long and fruitful journey in the world of theatre for a man, who was also known as Alufeyo but his legacy continues to live on.
And as he laid his wreath, Mabedi shook his head and only said “Go thee well my friend, go well John, you were an entertainer and I will remember you the rest of my life.”
Renowned writer Willie Zingani, who wrote the book Madzi Akatayika which was later performed by Kwathu Drama Group and in the play Izeki played Alufeyo the house boy said Izeki and late Du Chisiza Jr were the ones, who showed that one could earn a living through drama.
“Izeki and Du Chisiza Jr showed the way that one could earn money through acting. Izeki was a hard worker, he was gifted and I will not forget him,” said Zingani.
He hailed people for coming in large numbers to celebrate the life of Izeki.
Actress Linda Chatha recalled that when she was joining Kwathu, Izeki was the one, who played as her husband in her first production titled Banja.
“Izeki was my first husband in my first production in Kwathu. I will not forget him because he is the one who taught me some of the basics and guided me. So to be where I am today, Izeki played a very big role,” said Chatha.
Musician Lucius Banda popularly known as Soldier said Izeki was an entertainer and that his talent would be missed forever.
“Izeki blessed us with his jokes and he was gifted. When he was on stage he meant business,” said Lucius.
Minis ter of Sports and Culture Grace Chiumia, who represented President Peter Mutharika, said the country was at a loss with Izeki’s death.
“The country is saddened with Izeki’s death and we will surely miss him. Through his works he taught us a lot of things and I recall he together with his friend Jakobo did a play on reforms continues to educate us,” said Chiumia.
A mass was conducted at Kamuzu Stadium during the funeral service where several speeches were also made.
Group Village Headman Somanje Makata said in his eulogy that the country was at a loss with Izeki’s death adding that through his talent he raised the profile of Ndirande.
Makata also took time out during the funeral service to tackle several issues including the albino killings where he called on the government to investigate and bring the people involved to book.
He also condemned people, who have used social media for wrong reasons by “killing” Izeki several times before his death.
“People have killed my brother here five times through the social media. Let’s refrain from spreading news that we have not verified,” he said.
Makata also called on artists to work hard in their trade and also move in the right path just as Izeki did and that they should strive to work together.
“Let me commend Jakobo, who has been together with Izeki, they loved each other and worked together and their friendship was deeper. Let other artists learn from them,” he said.
Despite forming his own church where he was a pastor, Izeki was still a Catholic and that this is why his funeral service was conducted by the Catholic Church.
United Democratic Front (UDF) Secretary General Kandi Padambo also said Izeki, apart from his talent, was a dedicated member of the party.
Fellow artists bade farewell to their friend when they took the responsibility of carrying his remains.
The comedian, who hailed from Nyangayathyoka Village, Traditional Authority Mabuka in Mulanje was born on June 11, 1963.
He is survived by a wife and three children.
Izeki made a name in the church before he joined Kwathu Drama Group and later teamed up with Jakobo to star as Izeki ndi Jakobo.
He starred with Kwathu before quitting in the 1990s to form Alufeyo Performing Arts before rejoining Kwathu later.
Izeki quit Kwathu once again after turning born again. He formed his own church where he was a pastor and continued to minister the word of God.
The comedian also worked for Joy Radio producing a popular programme Kalibu with his friend Jakobo and also his own programme Chiyambi.
A vibrant writer who gives a great insight on hot topics and issues