Former Mpumalanga premier and senior Africa National Congress (ANC) member Mathews Phosa has urged the provincial government to build a musical theatre in honour of celebrated musician Ray Phiri, who died last week.
President Jacob Zuma had earlier this week declared a Special Provincial Official Funeral for Phiri, whose funeral service is set to take place at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, this weekend. A memorial service was taking place from the same venue on Thursday morning.
Phosa, who has also thrown his name in the hat for the ANC presidency, said a Ray Phiri musical theatre was a worthy investment by the provincial government.
“During my time as the premier of Mpumalanga, there was a discussion to build a musical theatre, which I still believe that the Mpumalanga government should do in the honour of this giant,” Phosa said.
Phosa said Phiri had played a significant role in liberating South Africa.
“It was in the dark days of our struggle as commanders and freedom fighters, we could draw inspiration from Ray and Stimela through their music, as it gave us hope and courage to continue with the fight for the struggle of our people and the country,” Phosa said.
He urged young South Africans to draw lessons from the late jazz musician.
“The lessons we need to learn from the life of this great legend is for us to rally our young people behind the art, education and technology.
“Our young people cannot afford to be disenfranchised when they grow up with such rich legacies left by the great legends like Ray Phiri.”