The Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture is saddened by the passing of jazz icon Ms Thandi Klaasen. The Committee extends sincere condolences and strength to her family and friends, as well as her multitude of fans across the globe.
The Committee will remember her soulful voice, which serenaded the world for over five decades. “Above all, what will remain etched in the minds of all South Africans is the fighting spirit that shone until her passing.
It is this unrelenting spirit that we must emulate if we are to overcome the struggle against socio-economic challenges we face as a country,” said Ms Xoliswa Tom, the Chairperson of the Committee.
“Like many South Africans artists of her generation, Ms Klaasen confronted head-on the difficulties brought about by the repressive apartheid system.
While she was forced to seek opportunities outside South Africa, due to diminishing prospects within the country, her true South African identity always shined through with her constant use of ‘tsotsitaal’, a uniquely South African lexicon.
“She graced the world stage with her soulful voice and plentiful energy that engraved her name on many hearts the world over. This she achieved despite her face being disfigured by an acid attack in her teenage years. This showed the unrelenting spirit that she had,” Ms Tom emphasised.
The Committee is comforted by the fact that the Presidency saw it fit to bestow upon Ms Klaasen the National Order of the Baobab, which she received for her excellent achievement and contribution to music.
“The Committee hopes her family and friends are comforted by the fact that Ms Klaasen’s life was well lived. May her soul rest in perfect peace,” Ms Tom concluded.