File photo: According to the statement, Msomi died after a short illness. Picture: Supplied
File photo: According to the statement, Msomi died after a short illness. Picture: Supplied

Ramaphosa saddened by death of theatre legend Welcome Msomi: 'We have lost a cultural stalwart'

By Entertainment Reporter Time of article published Jul 5, 2020

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Veteran playwright Welcome Msomi passed away on Saturday at the age of 76, the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture has confirmed.

According to the statement, Msomi died after a short illness.

Welcome Msomi made his creative debut when he wrote a book at the tender age of 15.

The book gave rise to a career of half a decade during which Bab’Msomi distinguished himself in radio and as a choreographer and outstanding playwright who became a force in Zulu literature and South African culture at large.

Early in his career he established the iZulu Dance Theatre (IDT) and Musicin 1965 in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

He is best and globally remembered for "uMabatha", his adaptation - in isiZulu and set against in 19th-century Zulu history - of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

He owned his own recording label and in the latter part of his life served on various boards and was active in the public relations industry.

President Ramaphosa  has expressed his condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Msomi.

“We have lost a cultural stalwart whose creativity gave depth, colour and lyricism to South Africa’s dramatic and complex history," said Ramaphosa.

“While Welcome Msomi was exceptionally talented as an individual, he dedicated his energy, time and resources to the development of new generations of performers who would celebrate and showcase our nation’s cultural diversity.

“This investment in the future of our cultural communities is Welcome Msomi’s true legacy; one that will ensure that his inspiration lives on in his physical absence.”

Earlier this year, a debilitating stroke delayed the sentencing of his R8-million theft conviction.

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