Vhahangwele Nemakonde
Digital Journalist
3 minute read
23 Jan 2021
3:58 pm

Award-winning jazz musician Jonas Gwangwa dies

Vhahangwele Nemakonde

President Cyril Ramaphosa has sent his condolences the musician's family following his death. 

Musician Jonas Gwangwa pays tribute to his long time friend Prof Keorapetse Kgositsile during the South African Poet Laureate's memorial service held at City Hall in Johannesburg, 11 January 2018. Kgositsile died at the age of 79 after a brief illness. Picture: Refilwe Modise

Musician, songwriter and producer, Jonas Gwangwa has passed on at the age of 83.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has sent his condolences to the musician’s family following his death.

“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 Gwanga 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,” said Ramaphosa.

This as the country commemorates the deaths of late legends Hugh Masekela and Oliver Mtukudzi.

The legendary musician has received Academy, Grammy, Bafta, Golden Globe and Anthony Asquith award nominations and won the Ivor Novello and Black Emmy awards.

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Gwangwa was awarded The Order of Ikhamanga in Gold for his contribution to music and the struggle for freedom in South Africa in 2010.

“So intense and rousing were Jonas Gwangwa’s instrumental tunes, that the apartheid censorship machinery banned his records without bothering to check the lyrical content. The album was mostly instrumental but the revolutionary verve could not be mistaken: here was music inspired and fed by a people’s thirst for liberation.

“Gwangwa and many other musicians managed to sing down apartheid, as it were. In their music lay the stirring account of the struggle against racial oppression in South Africa. For every song, there was pain, for every tune there was joy and heartbreak as South Africans at home and abroad sought solace and encouragement,” said the presidency at the time.

Condolences have been pouring in:

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