Award-winning South African jazz legend Jonas Mosa Gwangwa, 83, has passed away. The news of his passing sent shockwaves through the country, but the details surrounding his death have not yet been shared.
In an unusual turn of events, Gwangwa's death falls on the same day as the death of other musical legends Hugh Masekela (died 23 January, 2018) and Oliver Mtukudzi (died 23 January, 2019).
In a special tribute published byThe Presidency, President Cyril Ramaphosa wrote:
"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 Jonas Gwangwa will rest in peace."
Having spent over 40 years in the music industry, Gwangwa was well-known and celebrated for the impact his music had during the fight for freedom. Some of his most popular songs include Morwa and Kgomo.
He has been nominated for - and received - many local and international awards. Some of his most notable accolades include nominations for a Grammy, Bafta and Golden Globe award for his song for the film Cry Freedom.
Tributes have since been pouring in for the fallen icon:
From writing protest songs, to making jazz accessible to all and who can forget composing “Kgomo” the legendary wedding march that ushered many of us to the altar??... Thank you for the music Ntate Jonas, you remain a hero in the South African story #RIPJonasGwangwa ?????? pic.twitter.com/AkbqrN2hZi— Lerato Mbele (@mbele_lnb) January 23, 2021
I would like to extend my heartfelt condolences to the family & friends of the award wining jazz legend Jonas Gwangwa, who has tragically passed away. Ntate Gwangwa was a gentle soul & musical genius. The colossal that once walked the streets of Soweto is no more #RIPJonasGwangwapic.twitter.com/5a666wD2hc— Geoff Makhubo (@GeoffMakhubo) January 23, 2021