The death of celebrated singer Sibongile Khumalo has added to the shocking number of RIPs South Africans have been mourning this month.
GAUTENG – The death of celebrated singer Sibongile Khumalo has added to the shocking number of RIPs South Africans have been mourning this month.
The award winning 63-year-old rose to fame as a young Sowetan who went on to win the Standard Bank Young Artist Award at the Grahamstown Festival in 1993.
Khumalo worked in independent institutions as a music teacher, administrator and researcher and focused on the musical heritage of the Zulu, Sotho and Tsonga people.
Her career progressed from strength to strength and she became one of the most prolific voices in South African opera.
She managed to fuse her love for opera, oratorio classical art song with traditional local sounds and that established her as a sensation in South Africa and abroad.
Her albums Ancient Evenings and Live at the Market Theatre, both released in the 1990s solidified her as a unique voice and opened the eyes of South Africans to the world of opera.
The jazz icon performed on many a prestigious stage both locally and internationally. Khumalo was a rare treasure who performed in traditional choral music, jazz, opera and afro soul.
She was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga in silver for her contribution to the culture and music of South Africa.
Khumalo performed late President Nelson Mandela’s 75th birthday and 1994 inauguration. She also led the South African and New Zealand national anthems at the World Cup rugby final in 1995.
Tributes have been pouring in for the musician. Veteran journalist Tim Modise described Khumalo as a wonderful person.
“My beloved friend and sister, a superb performer. So much joy and so much music and laughter. She came, made her mark and left us proud and happy. Very sad to hear she’s no more but happy she left us such joyful memories.”
Dr Ntuthuko Bhengu, on Twitter described Khumalo as a great human.
“I could never have imagined my world and hers would ever collide. As Fellows of the Africa Leadership Initiative, we were in the same class. What a decent human being! No airs whatsoever. Go well legend, you’ve made your mark.”
Thuli Magubane tweeted: “I felt this one in my gut! Sibongile Khumalo brought so much joy to so many hearts… One of the most gifted vocalists in South Africa. Watching her perform was always a delight. My heart goes out to Tshepo and the rest of family.
Dumza Maswasa tweeted his heartbreak. “We have lost big time. A true icon. A mother, in the true sense of the word. She loved us, she encouraged us, she was available for us, she understood us. Ndonakele kakhulu. Yini umama. I loved and respected her so much.”