South Africa Bids Farewell to a Jazz legend

Tributes continue to pour in for jazz legend Thandi Klaasen

South Africans woke up to saddening news of Klaasen’s death at the age of 86, which was confirmed on Sunday morning by her family through a media statement. Klaasen’s daughter Lorraine confirmed last week that the jazz legend had been battling with pancreatic cancer.

A short background on Thand Klaasen;

Thandi Mpambane grew up in Sophiatown, the daughter of a shoemaker and a domestic worker. When she was a teenager, she was attacked with acid and her face was permanently scarred. Her career as a singer and dancer began in the mid-1950s.In 1961, she moved to London to work in the musical King Kong. She performed with the likes of Dolly Rathebe, Miriam Makeba, Dorothy Masuka, and others.

President Jacob Zuma and numerous high-profile celebrities have paid tribute to the fallen musician, who touched the lives of thousands of people through her music.

“Ms Klaasen contributed to the country not only as a musician but also a social and political activist who was always outspoken about social-economic issues in the country. We have lost one of the leading pioneers of South African jazz music and promoters of the country’s cosmopolitan culture. She was a role model to many of our young and upcoming musicians and her legacy will live on for generations to come,” said President Zuma through a media statement.

Celebrities including Felicia Mabuza Suttle, Euphonik, and Generations actress Nambitha Mpumlwana joined hundreds of fans in paying tribute to the star.

Indeed she was a South African treasure and here at Ndoda we honor her… Rest In Peace! Robala ka kgotso! Lala ngoxolo Makhulu!


Below is one of the songs she is most renowned for.

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