JOHANNESBURG – A close friend of hip hop artist Nkululeko ‘Flabba’ Habedi has described the events that led up to his murder on March 9 this year.
Nkululeko Chauke was testifying Wednesday in the trial against Habedi’s girlfriend, Sindisiswe Manqele, who is accused of murdering the musician by stabbing him.
Chauke told the Johannesburg High Court sitting in Randburg, that the couple had had an argument in the car park when they left a club where Habedi had been performing.
He said the mood in the car was tense and that “it was quiet in the car until we reached McDonalds”.
Chauke testified that Habedi had lost his appetite and that Manqele had told him she wouldn’t give him her food.
“I think the deceased was joking and said ‘Baby you stingy’ and she responded with saying that he was used to his wife ‘giving you what you want’.”
Chauke said the two continued to argue as Manqele accused him of flirting with women at the club.
“He said to her how many times must I tell you that there’s nothing happening with those girls, you were also wrong for talking to me like that, stop being stubborn and apologise.”
Questioned by prosecutor Paul Schutter, Chauke told the court the deceased seemed “irritated”.
Chauke said that Habedi continued to defend himself.
He said that the last time he saw Habedi alive was after he was dropped off at his home.
Schutter asked Chauke what kind of state Manqele was in at the time.
“Both Masego (Chauke’s girlfriend) and Sindi were drunk, Sindi was stumbling and I had to carry Masego into the house when we got dropped off,” Chauke said.
He said that an hour after they arrived at The Sands, the nightclub where Habedi had performed, Habedi and Manqele had smoked dagga.
Schutter asked Chauke whether he could recall what outfit Manqele was wearing that night.
“She was wearing a purple vest and floral leggings,” Chauke replied.
Manqele’s defence lawyer, Norman Makhubela, asked Chauke whether he was aware of the holiday that the couple had taken to Durban the weekend before the murder.
“Yes I was aware of that,” Chauke replied.
Makhubela said that Manqele told him that she was buying drinks for Habedi during the night because he wasn’t financially stable.
Makhubela argued that Manqele’s evidence was that she was talking to another man and Habedi demanded that they leave and grabbed her by her wrist. “I don’t recall that happening,” Chauke said.
Makhubela added that Manqele’s cellphone records would show that she had called a meter taxi driver named Khumbulani because she didn’t want to leave with Habedi.
“I don’t know anything about a phone [call],” Chauke added.
Chauke stated that he had gone to fetch the vehicle that they had come in, and so couldn’t comment on what took place while he was gone.
Makhubela reiterated that Manqele’s evidence was that she was pulled into the vehicle and injured her ankle in the process.
“I brought the car right to them and they were in my sight – no one was forced to get into the car. She got in willingly,” Chauke replied.
Earlier, the brother of the late hip hop artist told the court about the last time he saw the musician alive.
“I saw my brother on the floor and Sindi was crying next to him saying ‘I love you, I didn’t mean to do it’,” he said.
The case continues on Thursday. – ANA