LOVED AND LOST: Rikhado “Riky Rick” Makhado (1987 – 2022)

Sizwe Sibiya

Rikhado “Riky Rick” Makhado had a generosity and a passion for music which can best be summed up by the speech he gave after winning Best Hit Single at the 16th Metro FM Awards with “Sidlukotini” in 2017.

He used the platform to highlight the issue of young artists struggling to be played on local radio stations due to payola – a huge problem in Mzansi which the artist always held close to his heart.

Born in KwaMashu township’s D section in Durban, Rikhado was raised by his grandmother after his parent’s divorce.

During his childhood, his late father, a Limpopo born businessman, worked in Johannesburg while his mother studied to be a lawyer in the United Kingdom.

“It was a combination of crazy and quiet at the same time,” Rikhado (now called Riky Rick) told radio host Bruce Whitfield in 2020, describing his upbringing in KwaMashu towards the end of the apartheid era.

But that period would not last long, as he had to move to Vienna in Austria when he was in grade four. It was during that period, he used to say, that his love for music started.


“At school… I sort of discovered German hip hop and German music as something I would like to partake in.”

Upon returning to SA, Riky Rick was sent to Hilton College, a prestigious boarding high school in the Midlands in KwaZulu-Natal.

 “I leaned towards sports and music at the time. So I was a member of the choir,” he said.

His first encounter with the music industry in Mzansi was in the early 2000s through self-taught producer Bongani, the son of the late icon Brenda Fassie. More than ten years later, in 2014, Riky Rick put out his debut single “Nafukwa” (Turn Up), which introduced him as a stylish new artist on the scene.

The following year, he released his first and only album titled Family Values, the cover art showed him holding his one-year-old son Malik. The album went on to be certified platinum by RISA.

Malik was Riky Rick’s second-born. He and his wife Bianca Naidoo had their first child in 2010, a daughter named Jordan.

Born on 27 July 1987, Riky Rick passed away at the age of 34 on Wednesday 23 February, after reportedly committing suicide in Johannesburg.

The Makhado family confirmed his passing through a media statement saying “he leaves behind his wife, two children, mother and five siblings.”

The last words from Riky Rick’s Twitter account, posted on the day of his untimely and unexpected death: “I’ll return as a stronger man. This land is still my home.”

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