One of South Africa’s revered choral music composers and conductors, Professor Mzilikazi Khumalo has passed away. The 89-year-old Khumalo died earlier on Tuesday.

He was part of the committee that amalgamated the Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika prayer with Die Stem to form the post-apartheid South African national anthem.

Khumalo was chosen by the committee to sing their composition to Parliament for approval. He received a standing ovation, according to popular classical music conductor Richard Cock who also served on the committee. Cock, a close friend of Khumalo who has worked with him since the 1980s, says he was a giant in African Music and will be sorely missed.

“He was a wonderful person and I was lucky to count him as one of my dearest friends. And I’m very sad, he has passed now. Our condolences must go to his son, wife and to all the musicians in South Africa who benefited from his wisdom. He was an extremely wise man. His council was always well thought through, accurate and to the point. We will miss his presence in the music in South Africa,” says Cock.

Tributes pouring on social media: