ANC paid tribute to the late Aretha Franklin, praising her soul music while also lauding her civil rights legacy. Picture: AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File

Cape Town - Africa's oldest liberation movement turned political party on Friday paid tribute to the late Aretha Franklin, praising her soul music while also lauding her civil rights legacy.

"We dip our banners in solemn recognition of her immense contribution, not only to the arts, but inspiring those who strive to make the world a better place with her music," the African National Congress (ANC) said in a statement. 

"Aretha was a giant, whose melodies provided nourishment for the soul in every corner of the world for generations. A great tree has fallen, yet her roots run deep and will continue to inspire generations. Aretha has run her race with distinction and touched many lives. As we lay to rest her mortal remains, her legacy will live on long after the music has stopped."

Franklin died on Thursday at the age of 76 after a long battle with cancer.

The ANC reflected on Franklin's contribution to the civil rights movement in the US and how her songs became anthems for the movement.

She also performed for Nelson Mandela during his US tour following his release from prison.

"Her love for the people of South Africa in general, and Nelson Mandela in particular, is demonstrated in her many tributes to Madiba," the party said.

"Madiba once remarked that in Robben Island, he and other incarcerated leaders found comfort from the sounds of Detroit and Motown, in reference to Aretha Franklin’s music among others."

African News Agency (ANA)