Olpha Selepe Death: Who was the South African internet Sensation and 'Obani Lababantu' Hitmaker?

A month after becoming an internet sensation in South Africa, Olpha Selepe, popularly known as Gee Six Five, passed away in the early hours of Wednesday, 9 December, after testing Covid-19 positive. She is survived by three children and grandchildren.

Olpha Selepe
Olpha Selepe passes away. Twitter

Her relative Sbu Mpungose announced the news of her death on Twitter. "My beloved aunt, MumNcane who many of you know as #GeeSixFive is no more. She displayed leadership throughout her life, was the epitome of fearlessness & inspired many with her single #ObaniLababantu. Mthiya, Shandu kaNdaba, Sontshikazi. #RIPGeeSixFive. [sic]"

Who was Olpha Selepe?

Olpha Selepe, who hails from Emadadeni in New Castle, was a teacher. She had completed Masters at the age of 63 and she was pursuing Phd in Higher Education. However, she became an inspiration figure in November following the release of her first single Obani Lababantu (meaning: Who are these people).

The quirky number caught the attention of the netizens. It was her dream to create such a single that touches the hearts of the people. The message in the song was simple – get out of your comfort zone and never to give up on their dreams over peer pressure.

"I started composing the song in July, writing and singing until the lyrics were in my head. The plan was to do ingwijikhwebu or something that will take the country by storm," she was quoted as saying in an interview by SowetanLIVE.

Although Gee Six Five had earlier tried to enter music industry through gospel, it did not meet with success. Selepe had created children's rhymes in isiZulu.

Her dream to inspire people with a song materalised with the single 'Obani Lababantu' which turned out to be a massive hit and became a national topic of debate in November. More than her vocals, the lines had stuck the chord with the listeners.

Her Inspiring Quotes

In the interviews later, Gee Six Five explained the meaning of the single and urged youths to come out of cocoons. "The message in all this is that it is never too late to become what you want to be. Don't be afraid to explore your own talents because of the naysayers. I just wanted to do what was never done before," she is quoted as saying in an interview with Trending SA.

The South African singer added, "When I composed this song, I wanted to address a question that people are always thinking: 'Who are these people talking about me?' You know, who are these jealous people, who are these people laughing at me? So I wanted to send a message,"

However, she had clearly stated that the album was a one-of thing and would remain her first and last album of her life. Although she just produced one hit track, her lines will be etched in the people's memories, forever.

This article was first published on December 9, 2020