Sibongile Khumalo, dubbed the First Lady of Song, will be laid to rest in Johannesburg on Saturday. The legendary jazz and opera musician passed away last week from stroke-related complications at the age of 63.
Sibongile Khumalo passes away from stroke-related complications:
Throughout her career, the Soweto-born singer, affectionately known as Ma’Mngoma, received many awards and accolades including The Order of Ikhamanga bestowed on her by former President Thabo Mbeki.
The first President of a democratic South Africa, Nelson Mandela, referred to Khumalo as the First Lady of Song.
Khumalo began her musical journey at the age of eight. By the age of 14, she knew she wanted to be an opera singer but began her career teaching music instead.
Khumalo began singing professionally in 1991 and quickly rose in stature, releasing several award-winning albums in a career spanning over 30 years. She’s celebrated on the international stage and revered back home.
Legendary jazz musician Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse pays tribute to Sibongile Khumalo:
Rhodes University, which honoured the musical giant with an honorary doctorate in music in 2009, joined many South Africans in paying tribute to her.
Luzuko Jacobs, the Director of Communications and Advancement at the University, described her as the epitome of leadership.
“She was completely dedicated to lifting others up. That’s the true definition of leadership. We had quality in her, but also we had a major investment in a person who was dedicated to building others. Rhodes University identified extraordinary traits in her and extraordinary achievements in her and extraordinary contributions that she made to society and to her own community,” Jacobs said.
Khumalo’s funeral service will be held at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg.