South African Jazz Giant, Jonas Gwangwa Dies At 83
South Africa jazz trombonist and composer, Jonas Gwangwa, whose music powered the anti-apartheid struggle, died on Saturday at 83, the presidency said.
According to a statement on the country’s official presidential website, the legendary musician breathed his last on Saturday. The cause of Gwangwa’s death, however, remain sketchy as at the time of filing this report.
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa led the tributes to the legendary musician who was nominated for an Oscar for the theme song of the 1987 film “Cry Freedom”.
A giant of our revolutionary cultural movement and our democratic creative industries has been called to rest. The trombone that boomed with boldness and bravery, and equally warmed our hearts with mellow melody has lost its life force.
Gwangwa passed away on the third anniversary of the death of the “father of South African jazz,” Hugh Masekela, and the second anniversary of the death of Zimbabwean musical legend, Oliver Mtukudzi.
The ace singer cum activist was born in October 1937 in Soweto and had an impressive music career spanning 40 years.
The presidency added;
He delighted audiences in Sophiatown until it became illegal for black people to congregate and South African musicians were jailed merely for practicing their craft.
Gwangwa was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga, South Africa’s highest national award presented for achievements in art and culture, in 2010.
The award recognised his work as a composer, arranger and musical director of Amandla Cultural Ensemble, a cultural group formed by activists from African National Congress in the 1970s.
May his soul Rest In Peace.