By Novell Zwangendaba – SOUTH AFRICA – South African President Jacob Zuma says he has learnt with sadness of the passing of music icon Busi Mhlongo. Mama Mhlongo last night succumbed to her brave battle with cancer.
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. She ensured her compositions defied categorisation and emphasised the universality of the human race.
“Her love for music kept the flames of hope alive during our 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.”
“A true legend has passed away.” said President Zuma.
“On behalf of South Africans, during this difficult period I extend our condolences to the family and friends”