SONG FOR MATHANDI
Life of legend remembered with love, song
THE LIFE of jazz icon Thandi Klaasen was celebrated the way she lived – through love and song.
Klaasen, who died after a short battle with pancreatic cancer, was remembered yesterday at a memorial service at the Germiston City Hall. Speaker after speaker hailed her as loving, resilient, extremely talented and an activist.
The ceremony was attended by giants in the entertainment industry such as Babsy Mlangeni, Blondie Makhene, Caiphus Semenya, Letta Mbulu, Dorothy Masuku and Abigail Kubheka to name just a few.
Government and political figures included Communications Minister Faith Muthambi; Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture Rejoice Mabudafhasi; Gauteng MEC for Arts, Culture, Sports and Recreation Faith Mazibuko; Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina; and Member of Parliament and former Ekurhuleni mayor Mondli Gungubele.
Speaking at the event, Klaasen’s son, Roger Mpambane, said, of the many lessons he’d carry with him from his mother, the most important one was to love God.
“That woman knew and respected God. And she taught me to include God in everything I do.
“My mother also had a big heart and she was strong,” Phambane said.
Her daughter, Lorraine Klaasen, said she learnt to be the artist that she is today by observing her mother.
“I always observed my mother and said I want to be like my mother when I grow up.
“I fulfilled that promise – because I am like her,” she said.
The icon’s friend, Sally Peterston, highlighted the role in her life played by Klaasen’s political activism.
“Thandi always had a card up her sleeve for the poorest of the poor, and she contributed greatly to the liberation movement,” Peterston said.
Poet and writer, Don Mattera, said the best way to remember Klaasen and her legacy was through the love and compassion she showed to others.
“When you love, you must care; and when you have compassion, you must heal,” he said.
With music from the Dr Johnny Mekoa Orchestra Ensemble, the Living Legends Tribute and the SABC and Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department choirs, the atmosphere was light.
Anecdotes of Klaasen’s life were also the order of the day, highlighting the sense of humour and grace with which she approached life.
Klaasen will be buried tomorrow at the Heroes’ Acre.
Ekurhuleni Mayor Masina also confirmed that Klaasen will be given a civic funeral and be posthumously awarded the Freedom of the City by the Ekurhuleni Municipality.
Abigail Kubeka, Letta Mbulu and Dorothy Masuku, friends of the late Thandi Klaasen, during her memorial service in Germiston yesterday.
REMEMBERED: Thandi Klaasen’s life was celebrated yesterday at a memorial service at the Germiston City Hall.