Fans of pop-star Michael Jackson have been mourning his unexpected death.  In southern Africa, where he performed several times and visited often, tributes have been pouring in.

Fans in southern Africa are in mourning over the death of Michael Jackson.  Radio stations are playing his songs constantly along with tributes from listeners.

Great entertainer

Jackson performed in South Africa and often visited privately.  In the 1990s he met former President Nelson Mandela, who praised him publicly in this broadcast from the archives of national television.

"He has made a great contribution to art, to music," Mandela said.

Lucy Mudau, a 30-year-old fashion designer from Johannesburg, agrees.

"I remember my sister had his music videos," she said.  "We used to watch them.  You know when you rewind a song just to see the video and the moves, the dance.  We were very inspired.  The guy was just a good entertainer.  For me it is very sad."

Jackson also visited Zimbabwe in the 1990s. Sithele Mazwi, 30, who now works in Johannesburg, says she went to see him.

"We were all so excited to go and meet up with him," she said.  "I remember putting on an outfit just like his, the black and white outfit, and doing the moon-walking dance.  I was so devastated when I heard that he has passed away."

Songs struck a chord

Jimmy Kuntaja, 45, is a school teacher in Malawi.  He remembers Jackson because of the message he sent out through songs like "Black and White" and "Heal the World."

"He was an extraordinary artist who through his songs preached the message of unity, preached the message against racism, that we are equal before God," he said.

A radio journalist in Malawi, Rhodes Nsonkho, says Jackson was more than an artist.

"He was somebody who was loved, who inspired a lot of musicians worldwide," the journalist said.  "If you talk of our audiences here in Malawi, if you talk of big names [musicians], ask them, they will say Michael Jackson was the one who inspired them."

Sex abuse allegations

Masibulele Yaso is a 28-year-old sociology professor from the South Africa's Eastern Cape region.  He says he was saddened by the allegations of sexual abuse made against the singer.

"Especially for us as Africans, despite all these accusations, let us celebrate his success and forget about other accusations which in most cases were found to be not necessarily true," Yaso said.

Nancy Dlamini, a 22-year-old student from Swaziland, thought Jackson was an icon who would never die but she is philosophical about his passing.

"I feel wherever he is he can just rest because he has been through a lot with all the allegations and stuff," she said. "Now he is just resting. We should just accept that and enjoy what he left for us to enjoy."

Fans in this part of Africa say that through his message, his music and his phenomenal ability to entertain, Michael Jackson will be remembered for a long time.