Farewell ‘Bra’ Ray Phiri

The Star Early Edition - - LETTERS - Nelvis Qekema

STIMELA has fi­nally gone off the rails. The leg­endary “Bra” Ray Chikapa Phiri will sing and dance no more. He suc­cumbed to lung can­cer.

He was more than a mu­si­cian. He was a philoso­pher, an artist, a gui­tarist, a poet, a per­former, an ac­tivist, an or­a­tor, and just about any pos­i­tive thing black peo­ple could be proud about.

He achieved so much un­til there was re­ally no more space left for him to achieve any more. Recog­ni­tion would still come even if it was named “Life­time Award” or what­ever.

The looks, strength and agility of his body de­fied the fact that he was 70-years-old. He danced like he had no bones.

I Hate Telling a Lie. In­deed, he hated lies. That’s why he was never scared to ask black peo­ple and their lead­ers, Where Did We Go Wrong? He looked the white mi­nor­ity regime in the eyes and told them, Trou­ble in the Land of Plenty.

He ag­i­tated black peo­ple into rev­o­lu­tion­ary ac­tion so that there would no longer be Whis­pers in the Deep.

He was against an­ar­chy and po­lit­i­cally bank­rupt mil­i­tancy, and he, there­fore, ad­vised us to Look, Lis­ten and De­cide.

Be­cause the white racist regime dreaded a Think­ing Black Per­son, the song was banned.

He re­minded, in a min­ing im­agery, those that had for­got­ten to make their con­tri­bu­tion that sishov’ in­golo­vane.

Once they had joined in the push­ing of in­golo­vane, he pleaded with all of us, sin­ga­jindi majita.

To un­der­stand what made him com­pose mu­sic that car­ried a pos­i­tive po­lit­i­cal mes­sage, “Bra Ray” once said: “It’s never been my ob­jec­tive to make com­mer­cial mu­sic but in­stead trans­form South African mu­sic into some­thing re­spectable. In the end, it’s your art that re­mains when ev­ery­thing else has gone.”

In­deed, while he may be gone, his art will re­main for­ever. As he lay on his bed fight­ing lung can­cer, Nana Coy­ote was busy chant­ing to him, Zwakala nga­neno! Thanks “Bra” Ray. From your teach­ings, black peo­ple should know that “we’re all trib­u­taries of that great river of pain”. Joburg

SALUTE: Ray­mond Chikapa Enock Phiri was a leg­endary South African gui­tarist and per­former nick­named “Just Now” Phiri.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.