President Cyril Ramaphosa has paid tribute to legendary Jazz musician Jonas Gwangwa ,saying the jazz maestro ascends to South Africa’s great orchestra of musical ancestors whose creative genius inspired millions in the country and mobilised the international community against apartheid. The musician died on Saturday at the age of 83.
He was an Esteemed Member of the Order of Ikhamanga and is a globally recognised and awarded composer, arranger, producer and jazz trombonist.
His passing comes two weeks after he lost his wife, mam’Violet.
Gwangwa’s song Morwa is one of the many timeless tunes that he was well-known for.
“A giant of our revolutionary cultural movement and our democratic creative industries has been called to rest; the trombone that boomed with boldness and bravery, and equally warmed our hearts with mellow melody has lost its life force,” the president wrote in a tweet.
A giant of our revolutionary cultural movement and our democratic creative industries has been called to rest; the trombone that boomed with boldness and bravery, and equally warmed our hearts with mellow melody has lost its life force.#RIPJonasGwangwa pic.twitter.com/hlg4PyKQl4
— Cyril Ramaphosa 🇿🇦 #StaySafe (@CyrilRamaphosa) January 23, 2021
Ramaphosa says Gwangwa enthralled audiences around the world with his artistry as both a composer and creative genius.
“The citation for his National Order, which he received in 2010, recalls how this South African paragon enthralled audiences around the world with his artistry as a composer and all-around creative genius. For over 30 years, he was to travel the world as an exile, collecting accolades wherever he went.”
Prince Lengoasa pays tribute to the late Jonas Gwangwa:
Gwangwa’s craft during apartheid
Ramaphosa says the late musician entertained audiences during the apartheid, even when it became illegal to do so.
Gwangwa escaped death in 1985 when his Soweto home was raided by apartheid security forces.
“He delighted audiences in Sophiatown until it became illegal for Black people to congregate and South African musicians were jailed merely for practising their craft. In spite of the restrictions, he established and played with virtually every important band of the era, and such icons as Kippie Moeketsi, Abdullah Ibrahim, Johnny Gertze and Makhaya Ntshoko…Jonas Gwanga ascends to our great orchestra of musical ancestors whose creative genius and dedication to the freedom of all South Africans inspired millions in our country and mobilised the international community against the apartheid system,” says Ramaphosa.
The president has sent his condolences to the family and friends of the late music maestro.
As a jazz lover, I am deeply pained by the passing of the legendary Jonas Gwangwa.
He may have passed on, but his music will endure.
My condolences to his family. May he rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/CzadrZ6JpV
— Herman Mashaba (@HermanMashaba) January 23, 2021
Dr Jonas Gwangwa on theatrical protest musical Amandla: