The Citizen (KZN)

Govt honours iconic artists with stamps


Government has honoured legends Hugh Masekela, Dr Phillip Tabane and Professor Willie Keorapetse Kgositsile with postage stamps.

The three were recognised for the role they played during the country’s darkest times of apartheid.

This is a result of a 2018 Cabinet decision, which would see the SA Post Office honour the three artists, whose words and music left an imprint on the continent and the world.

Masekela was an award-winning jazz musician who went into exile in 1960 before returning to SA after three decades, when political parties were unbanned.

He is known as the father of South African jazz, with 40 albums to his name. He succumbed to cancer in 2018.

Tabane was a renowned vocalist, jazz guitarist and bandleader. He died at the age of 84 in 2018. He was recognised as one of the country’s best musicians and was awarded honorary doctoral degrees.

Kgositsile, who also died in 2018, was a journalist turned author. He was a renowned poet and teacher, whose dedication to politics led him to establish the ANC’s department­s of education and arts and culture.

He was the country’s first Poet Laureate in 1996 and received the National Order of Ikhamanga in 2008.

Speaking during the commemorat­ive launch yesterday, Communicat­ions and Digital Technologi­es Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said stamps played a critical role as a small ambassador for the country. Stamps travelled across the world in the global postal network.

“Stamps also serve as a nation builder and educationa­l tool, as they reflect the country’s diverse culture, history, heritage, heroes and heroines, who played a critical role in the developmen­t of our country.”

They also attract huge interest for stamp collectors and what is portrayed becomes critical and serves as a revenue-generating source for the Post Office.

“As e-commerce markets develop and grow, so does the parcel market that needs effective and efficient logistical value chain, supported by digital infrastruc­ture. We also need to ensure that these commemorat­ive stamps are digitised and sold on digital platforms,” said Ndabeni-Abrahams.

She believed the Post Office still had an important role to play in the digital age.

“Have you ever imagined, instead of calling when you’re [away], you [send a] postcard with a stamp?” she remarked, saying little things like this should still matter in this modern age.

“There is something special about receiving a Christmas or birthday message on a postcard, specifical­ly addressed to [you].” –

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