CAPE TOWN, May 19 – Parliament and the SABC have paid tribute to South African jazz legend Philip Tabane, who died at the age of 84 in a hospital in Pretoria on Friday.
Parliament’s presiding officers – National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete and National Council of Provinces Chairwoman Thandi Modise – sent their condolences to Tabane’s family, friends, and colleagues in the music world for their great loss, parliamentary spokesman Moloto Mothapo said on Saturday.
Tabane was best known for his hit songs Nkupi and Muvhango, but acclaim for his music went back much further – to the Malombo Jazzmen, the band he formed in the early 1960s, he said.
He was among the South African jazz greats whose pioneering music defied the constraints of oppression during the height of apartheid and showcased the country’s unique and remarkable talent to the world. The Malombo Jazzmen toured the United States in the 1970s, where renowned musicians such as Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis played with them. Their album Malombo was a commercial and critical success.
Through his masterpieces, Tabane made the world pay attention and recognise South Africa’s rich traditional culture and appreciate the timeless beauty of the boundless quality of its arts.
“His music was a uniting force that not only connected South Africa with the word but also bridged different generations. He inspired and worked with a range of younger musicians and, until the end, continued to captivate and serenade his legion of fans with his unique and ageless spiritually evocative repertoire. Although this legendary guitarist and outstanding South African is no more, his distinctive, uplifting music will live on,” Mothapo said.
South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) acting spokesperson Mmoni Seapolelo said the broadcaster joined South African citizens in mourning the passing of the veteran guitarist and musician.
Tabane had contributed immensely to the South African music industry. One of his songs was featured on SABC 2’s popular soapie Muvhango as an opening title sequence. His world-class craft and legacy would remain one of the country’s treasures which young aspiring musicians could draw inspiration from.
“The SABC board, management, and staff would like to send their heartfelt condolences to the Tabane family, his friends, and fans. May his soul rest in peace,” Seapolelo said.
– African News Agency (ANA)