Hundreds say farewell to Ngozi

2009-10-27 06:34

LEGENDARY jazz musician Winston “Mankunku” Ngozi was laid to rest

in an emotional but celebratory funeral on his home turf of ­Gugulethu


Hundreds of musicians, government officials, artists, friends and

relatives attended the tenor saxophonist’s funeral ceremony at Gugulethu’s NY 5

cemetery, where his coffin was lowered on top of his mother’s almost two weeks

after his death from a heart attack. He was 66 years old.

Speaker after speaker addressed the crowd of about 500 gathered

under a hot, cloudless Cape Town sky, all describing Ngozi as a humble person

who “would not hurt even a fly”.

Speaking at the Gugulethu Sports Complex ­before the procession to

the cemetery, Arts and Culture Minister Lulu Xingwana said Ngozi’s name would

live on through the memories and recordings of his powerful music, such as the

iconic struggle composition, Yakhal’inkomo.

“He was a true African legend whose music speaks to the soul of

South African people,” said Xingwana. “Mankunku’s music continues to withstand

the test of time. His music was not only about self-expression but began a

dialogue about reality which condemned oppression and sought to propel us to

great freedom.”

She said Ngozi had become a legend in his own time and his

innovation and creativity were a “shining beacon”, with his work opening a

pathway to new styles and trends.

“He influenced an entire generation of musicians who in turn have

made their mark on the international and local music scenes. We shall continue

to hear the strains of his music in our everyday lives.”

Fellow musician Ringo Madlingozi told those in attendance that

Ngozi had inspired him to ­become a musician.

Madlingozi said the saddest thing was that Ngozi got very little

money from his recordings. “It was some kind of exploitation.”

But he said it was good to know that the University of Cape Town

Music School was using Ngozi’s work in their curriculum.

While the older folk were treated to food and drinks at Ngozi’s

home, the younger crowd were directed back to the Gugulethu Sports Complex for a

concert featuring many of Ngozi’s fellow ­musicians.
– West Cape News

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