Fashion Trailblazer, Cultural Curator and Visionary – these are the words that come to mind when I think about Riky Rick. Born and raised in the lively township of KwaMashu; KwaZulu Natal; South Africa, Rikhado Muziwendlovu Makhado, affectionately known as Riky Rick passed away in the early hours of Wednesday, the 23rd February 2022.
The 34-year old musician is survived by his wife, two children, mother and five siblings. One month since the rapper’s untimely death, many South Africans are still recovering from this devastating loss. For many of Riky’s fans and colleagues, his death has been noticeably hard to accept, merely because of the impact that Riky has made. Riky’s impact runs so deep that neither did you have to be a fan nor, did you have to know him personally, to appreciate the contributions he’s made to popular culture.
Similarly, you didn’t have to be a fan or know him personally to be touched by his death. Riky was like no other, as cliché as this may sound, it’s the truth. Cementing himself as one of South Africa’s biggest hip-hop artists, Riky Rick continuously made it his means to always be at the forefront of fashion, music and culture. Advocating for the youth, Riky Rick dedicated his time to assisting and supporting young creatives and visionaries.
Starting his music career in 2014, with the release of his song “Nafukwa”, Riky quickly made a name for himself. Throughout his career, Riky Rick released a plethora of hits like ‘Amantombazane’, ‘Boss Zonke’ and ‘Sidlukotini’, which would solidify him as one of South Africa’s biggest and greatest hip-hop artists.
Apart from having a successful music career, Riky was deeply committed to fashion and style. His impeccable sense of fashion resulted in him being called King Kotini. King Kotini is a reference from his song, Sidkukotini, and refers to all of Riky’s fans as “cotton eaters,” which in layman’s terms details someone who is well versed in the art of fashion, and has an appetite for fashion.
Riky Rick operated at the upper echelons of style, taking it up a notch to curate his first CottonFest event in 2019. Merging two of Riky’s passions, music and fashion, CottonFest transcended the notion of just being an event that celebrates fashion & music and became a platform that gave young creatives and artists an opportunity to learn, grow and fully express themselves.
“Please believe in young people. Give them as many opportunities as they need to prove themselves. At any cost”, Ricky tweeted one week before his death.
Even in death, Riky’s impact and contribution to the culture holds promises of hope. Hope that life and everything in it will get better. Although Riky is no more, this land will forever be his home.
“I will return a stronger man. This land is still my home.”
Riky Rick, Home (2020)