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Western Cape
Jan 10 2013 12:53AM
 
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Rafiq Rohan

The Cape is mourning the death of one of its most famous child prodigy singers.

Ronnie Joyce, better known as Little Ronnie Joyce, died of liver cancer.

Joyce performed alongside local stars such as Richard Jon Smith and Jonathan Butler and was at the height of his fame in the ’70s with his trademark Afro hairstyle. His biggest hit was “Give a Little Love” and he recorded a duet album with Jonathan Butler called “It Takes Two”.

Joyce came from the tiny fishing village of Kalk Bay and started his career as a 13-year-old, firstly singing to folk in the area and then in a local nightclub.

The little boy was found singing with a band in the nightclub by Richard Jon Smith, who became his manager, along with Clive Calder and Ralph Simon.

Singing as an opening act for Richard Jon Smith, he became a huge star.

Heart FM’s Clarence Ford mourned Joyce’s death by starting his programme by dedicating and playing the Babyface song, “Gone Too Soon”.

Ford said he remembered Joyce from the ’70s performing at the Luxurama Theatre in Wynberg.

“I was amazed to watch this little bundle of dynamite performing on stage and seeing screaming young girls throwing their bras at him.

“Women went mad and us guys were so jealous,” Ford reminisced.

Ford described him as a “true son of Cape Town”. Joyce modelled himself on Michael Jackson and was noted for his powerful voice and intricate dance moves.

In the ’90s Joyce tried his hand at gospel and only last year tried to make a comeback but this was short-lived due to his illness. He last played with Butler at their Johannesburg Montecasino gig in September 2012.

rafiqr@thenewage.com

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