Keep Mama Thandiwe’s le­gacy alive

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

WITH a feisty spirit and armed with a silky con­tralto voice and a thick vi­brato, Thandiwe Klaasen was a role model to many of to­day’s singing leg­ends.

Through­out her ca­reer she used her tal­ent and in­flu­ence to fight pa­tri­archy and po­lit­i­cal in­jus­tices.

It was there­fore fit­ting that Pham­bili Siyaya Arts com­mis­sioned a mu­si­cal, Di­vas of Kofifi, aimed at pay­ing trib­ute to Klaasen, Dorothy Ma­suka and Abi­gail Kubeka.

We met for the first time in Septem­ber 2015 at her house in Eden Park on the East Rand, to talk about her long mu­si­cal ca­reer and her life in gen­eral.

She couldn’t re­mem­ber much and apol­o­gised for be­ing “use­less” at the process, but when Mama Kubeka jogged her mem­ory with the song Sophi­a­town is Gone, she re­mem­bered ev­ery note.

They turned the song into a duet – un­ac­com­pa­nied. There was si­lence af­ter­wards.

The play fi­nally pre­mièred at the Mar­ket Theatre in Au­gust last year, and we were for­tu­nate to have Mama Thandiwe join Ma­suka and Kubeka on stage. With a con­ver­sa­tion be­tween the three di­vas and a song, the mu­si­cal was off to a great start.

With th­ese ex­pe­ri­ences in mind I turn to one of her favourite songs and state that as Mama Thandiwe faces the fi­nal cur­tain: “She’ll say that she lived (a) life that’s full and she did it her way!”

It’s up to us, to en­sure her le­gacy lives on.

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