Zanda’s sons pledge to continue his legacy of music, community

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday


Carlene Alexander, wife of Clive “Zanda” Alexander, is supported by their son Zolani as she speaks about the legacy of her late husband at his funeral in Siparia on Thursday. – AYANNA KINSALE

THERE was an absence of music at the final farewell for musical great Clive “Zanda” Alexander

Instead of music, the words of his sons, brothers, sisters and widow Carlene demonstrated the great legacy of love and community he left behind.

Carlene said Clive was a wonderful man, a gem, and there were no words to describe her loss.

“I love you forever,” she said, a constant sentiment echoed by family and friends during the service.

Zanda, who died last week, was buried on Thursday in his hometown of Siparia, after a funeral  at Irwin Park.

While he was simply Dad to his children, Rashaad said his father’s death that solidified the greatness of the man and his music.

Son Zolani referred to an old saying about a great tree being born, and its roots running very deep to describe his lasting impression.

The service was officiated by interim leader of the Jamaat al Muslimeen Imam Sadiq Al Razi, who thanked Allah for “our brother and the impact he has made on so many lives.”

Al Razi said Alexander was a philanthropist and called on the congregation to honour his memory by following his example to give charity and do good.

In addition to his music, Zanda was an architect, but one of his sons, Johnny, said unlike others in the profession, wealth eluded him because of his integrity.

“My father had a revolutionary type of architecture and insisted it transform what society should look like.

“Where we are standing here right now,” referring to Irwin Park, “my father was commissioned to design by the late prime minister Dr Eric Williams. He worked on the Hall of Justice, banks, Arima hospital, the Siparia market.

Imam Lorris Ballack said Zanda also designed the Jamaat’s Mucurapo headquarters.

“Because of greedy politicians and businessmen he decided he could not be part of that, even though he knew he would lose millions. He just wanted to see a different society,” Johnny said.

While his architectural skill earned him recognition in England, Johnny said Zanda returned home because he wanted national acceptance and to uplift and educate young people.

Fourth son Hamza said one of his father’s desires was to have a school to teach children to read and write music.

“We will continue his legacy,” Hamza pledged.

Rashaad said the family was already doing so, but on the production side.

In spite of grief shared by relatives and friends, who hugged and comforted each other, there was hardly any display of tears.

Zanda’s brother Earlyn said it was not a moment for sadness, but one of celebration “for a man who lived a full, productive, active, and, most of all, family life.”

Earlyn remembered him as a “Santa Claus kind of character” who sneaked up every Christmas to fill their stockings with gifts.

“He was a giver.”

The sentiment was echoed by Zanda’s youngest sister Judy, who recalled first meeting him at age nine, as he had left for England when she was a toddler, and living with him at his Diamond Vale home for some time.

She reminisced about their first meeting, when he picked her up and spun her around with love and happiness.

Nephew Barry Garcia also shared snippets of the 14 years he lived with his uncle and the calming effect he had on him during a “torrid” period of his life.

“Clive had a contagious spirit, a wonderful spirit, a spirit of love. He was never flustered, always calm. I am an aggressor by nature and being around him helped me to become a calm person, to sit and analyse and not make quick judgement.”

Garcia also recalled accompanying Zanda on a Caribbean tour and a telephone call he answered from the legendary Herbie Hancock, who wanted Zanda to perform with him in Barbados.

Hasie Alexander, called Hassan – Zanda’s last son – pledged to fulfil his father’s wish to be the centre of the family and hold them together.