Keep Mama Thandiwe’s legacy alive
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.