South African music legend Sibongile Khumalo died of stroke-related complications after a lengthy illness. She was 63. File Picture
South African music legend Sibongile Khumalo died of stroke-related complications after a lengthy illness. She was 63. File Picture

’Sibongile Khumalo was staunch advocate for gender equality within music industry’

By Anna Cox Time of article published Feb 4, 2021

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Johannesburg - The Southern African Music Rights Organisation (Samro) has paid tribute to South African music legend Sibongile Khumalo, who died of stroke-related complications last week, after a lengthy illness, at the age of 63.

The Soweto-born songstress made a huge impact on the South African and international music scenes, releasing several critically acclaimed and award-winning albums during her illustrious career.

According to Samro chairperson, Nicholas Maweni, Khumalo was Samro’s first black female deputy chairperson and later the first black female chairperson, serving on the boards of both the organisation and its Samro Foundation.

“She was a musical grand dame who was always willing to serve more than just the music industry, and a staunch advocate for gender equality within the music industry.

“Mam’Sibongile was instrumental in the appointment of Samro’s first black female chief executive during her tenure, before retiring from both boards in December 2018. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends during this difficult time,” said Maweni.

During her career, Khumalo worked with various celebrated groups and artists, and performed at a number of high-profile events, including at Nelson Mandela’s 75th birthday and his presidential inauguration in 1994, and led the singing of the South African and New Zealand national anthems at the World Cup Rugby final in 1995.

“Mam’Sibongile was a singer without boundaries who was always promoting the South African sound through jazz, classical and indigenous African music, and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Samro-sponsored Arts & Culture Trust,” said Maweni.

Among other numerous awards and accolades that Khumalo received during her decades-long career was the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver, which she received from former president Thabo Mbeki, for her contribution to arts and culture in the musical fields of jazz and opera.

“As a prolific composer with over 60 registered musical works with Samro, she was instrumental in promoting and giving life to Princess Magogo’s music, and placed it on the world stage,” added Maweni.

“Mam’Sibongile used her voice, stature and gravitas to assist in giving young black talent access into institutions and her passing is a great loss in our society. She will be sorely missed.”

The Star

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