Zuma pays tribute to Mhlongo

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pretoria-President Jacob Zuma has paid tribute to singer, dancer and composer Busi Mhlongo following her death on Tuesday evening after her struggle with breast cancer.

"I have learnt with sadness of the passing of music icon Busi Mhlongo. Mama Mhlongo last night succumbed to her brave battle with cancer. A true legend has passed away.

"On behalf of South Africans, during this difficult period I extend our condolences to the family and friends," he said.

Born in 1947, like many South African artists of her time, she travelled overseas in order to pursue her love for music. Better known as the "Queen of Maskanda" her musical style drew on her rural KwaZulu-Natal roots.

It incorporated South African styles such as Mbaqanga, Maskanda, Marabi and traditional Zulu fused with contemporary elements.

She transformed the Maskanda guitar music of migrant Zulu mine workers into an instrument of peace. Her music carried poignant messages of South Africa's struggle for freedom and justice.
Her music defied categorisation and emphasised the universality of the human race.

President Zuma said Mhlongo's love for music kept the flames of hope alive during the country's struggle for democracy.

"Her music encouraged and influenced a range of contemporary South African artists. She inspired the nation and let the world know of South Africa's quest for freedom," he said