Thandi Klaasen: a world class per­former

The Star Early Edition - - TONIGHT | MUSIC - THERESE OWEN

AFEW years ago, Yvonne Chaka Chaka held a spec­tac­u­lar con­cert at the Su­per­bowl in Sun City. She in­vited me to re­view the event and I was lucky enough to be put up at The Palace.

After check­ing in, the Tonight pho­tog­ra­pher went to sort out our me­dia ac­cred­i­ta­tion. On ar­rival back at The Palace a white van was dis­em­bark­ing pas­sen­gers. The man­ager of The Palace came run­ning out to greet them.

It was none other than Thandi Klaasen and Abi­gail Kubeka.

“Good af­ter­noon ladies,” he said. “May I take your bags.”

Th­ese queens of mu­sic smiled and nod­ded. The man­ager huffed and puffed as he car­ried their bags. “Good­ness th­ese are heavy,” he said. “What is in them – al­co­hol?”

At which point the two turned around and said si­mul­ta­ne­ously: “No. Drugs.” They both then walked into the ho­tel.

I think the pho­tog­ra­pher laughed for at least an hour. Th­ese two old ladies still had their wits and sense of hu­mour and were still as re­bel­lious and glam­orous and as won­der­ful as they were all those years ago. Fan­tas­tic.

Later that night, Chaka Chaka put on a bril­liant show which fea­tured, among oth­ers, Sipho “Hot­stix” Mabuse.

The highlight was when Kubeka and Klaasen joined the band on stage.

They raised the bar that night to a mag­i­cal level. I could see why they, Hot­stix and Chaka Chaka, had en­joyed decades in the fickle mu­sic in­dus­try.

They weren’t in it for the fame and the tweets and the in­sta­grams. They were there be­cause of pas­sion and their tal­ent.

A world class per­for­mance by world class mu­si­cians.

It felt good to be a South African that night.

R.I.P. Thandi Klaasen.

PIC­TURE: MICHAEL GLENISTER

Jazz leg­end Thandi Klaasen (cen­tre), who died on Sun­day, aged 86, with Abi­gail Kubeka (left) and Dorothy Ma­suka.

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