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:
Saddened by the news of the passing away of Professor Mzilikazi Khumalo this afternoon. Maestro par excellence, composer of one of my favourite compositions, UShaka KaSenzangakhona. And appreciative of his classical musical contribution to SA spanning over decades. MHRIP. pic.twitter.com/LeuAsesE9e
— Thozamile_Mvumvu _Tshabalala (@MT_150) June 22, 2021
Composer, conductor, teacher and African choral music aficionado. A baobab has fallen. Rest in peace Prof Mzilikazi Khumalo.🕯 pic.twitter.com/tfS5BaDxw0
— Paul Mnisi 𓋹𓍑𓋴 (@Mnisi__weMvula) June 22, 2021
Sad to hear of the passing of Prof Mzilikazi Khumalo, a giant of South African classical music. Have fond memories of my days in a choir, singing uShaka KaSenzangakhona, a beautiful work. RIP Prof.
— Deano Maduramuthu (@Deano_Mad) June 22, 2021