Mu­si­cians vow to pre­serve her story

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - MASEGO PANYANE

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”.

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