The songwriter died yesterday at the aged of 83 years. Born on 19th October, 1937 in Soweto, South Africa, and had over 40 years career in jazz music.
His death fell on the third anniversary of the death of the fellow jazz legend, Hugh Masekela, and on the third anniversary of the death of Zimbabwean jazz musical icon Oliver Mtukudzi.
In 2010, he was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga, South Africa’s highest national award, in recognition of his contribution to music and the struggle for freedom.
Meanwhile, tributes have started to flock in through social media over his demise.
President Cyril Ramaphosa led the tributes on Saturday to the legendary trombonist and composer who was nominated for an Oscar for the theme song of the 1987 film Cry Freedom.
Ramaphosa said: “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.
“Jonas Gwangwa 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.
“As we mourn the loss of many precious lives around us, we pray also that the soul of Jona Gwangwa will rest in peace.”
— Presidency | South Africa 🇿🇦 (@PresidencyZA) January 23, 2021
Thabo Mbeki Foundation shared: “Gwangwa’s passing robs us of a towering giant in the field of music and the arts and therefore leaves our country that much poorer!”
STATEMENT OF THE THABO MBEKI FOUNDATION ON THE PASSING OF JAZZ ICON, JONAS GWANGWA. pic.twitter.com/OjKH1cDXrT
— Thabo Mbeki Foundation (@TMFoundation_) January 24, 2021
Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) wrote: “We also salute Dr, Gwangwa for his contribution to arts and culture and for educating us about the injustices of the past through jazz.”
EFF Statement On The Passing Of Dr Jonas Gwangwa pic.twitter.com/7rEHjpny9k
— Economic Freedom Fighters (@EFFSouthAfrica) January 23, 2021
May his soul rest in perfect peace!