Musicians vow to preserve her story
LEGENDARY jazz musician Thandi Klaasen must be buried with the respect she deserves.
This was the sentiment shared by Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa when he visited her home in Eden Park, Alberton, yesterday to pay his respects.
Mthethwa was joined by Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina and legendary artists Joe Mafela, Letta Mbulu, Dorothy Masuka, Abigail Kubeka and Sibongile Khumalo, among others.
Also seen at the home yesterday afternoon was wellknown photographer Peter Magubane.
“We are here to pay our respects to one of the icons, the legends, somebody who lived life to its fullest. We are here to say as South Africans that we are better to have heard her sing and having heard her talking to us while she was still alive,” Mthethwa said.
“We are glad that the family shared her life with us, and all that’s left to do is reciprocate that goodwill,” Mthethwa added, speaking of why Klaasen deserved a dignified funeral.
Masina said he appreciated the support Klaasen had given the government while she was alive.
Masina added that she was a staunch supporter of the ANC.
“We remain inspired by the life of umama wethu, and her passing has provided the opportunity for different generations to come together and share experiences.
“As a city, we have lost a great soul in mama Thandi,” Masina said.
Composer and musician Caiphus Semenya said Klaasen’s passing had made them realise the importance of the lives and stories of legends being documented properly.
“We were speaking with Msomi (director and playwright Welcome Msomi), saying before we all die and leave you in the dark, we are going to work with the minister to document all these lives properly. So when we pass, there will be accurate references to our lives. That will be the best way to preserve history,” Semenya said.
Klaasen’s daughter Lorraine said seeing all her mother’s peers gathered together to pay tribute to her was a testimony to the love the icon gave others.
“We normally say, ‘don’t tell me you love me, show me you love me’. The legends being here to pay tribute showed their love – we couldn’t even fit all of them in the lounge,” Lorraine said.
She said she hoped that the legends and other artists would also visit each other while they were alive.
Lorraine added that she would remember her mother’s humility and love of life.
“I will always remember my mother as a humble person. She sang for prime ministers, kings and queens but she was approachable.
“She was loving and kind and compassionate, and she forgave everyone who has ever wronged her – that’s a lesson I took from her,” she said.
True to the spirit of Klaasen, the legends sang a moving refrain to remember her the way she lived – with music.
GOODBYE: Thandi Klaasen, “loving, kind and compassionate”.