THE passing of Sis Busi Mhlongo on the eve of June 16 is tragic.
Most of us were hoping against hope that she would make a full return and claim her unchallenged position as lady of song.
Her brave struggle to conquer cancer reminds us of many others battling this scourge.
Fortunately, her noble legacy in music lives on.
It is equally comforting to know that in her living years she was praised for lifting indigenous music to a global platform. Her landmark recordings, such as Babhemu and Urban Zulu, are certified gems in the catalogue of world music.
Moreover, her persona was a positive influence on a younger generation of female singers.
One also recalls her baobab strength while representing maskandi music in exile. Yes, she is gone, but aluta continua to her art.
Yes, we will miss her graceful presence on the stage, but the resilience of her recordings stands aloft. What is more, in her lyricism she matched sages of old. In her creative beauty she equaled songstresses like Mama Dorothy Rathebe.
In Sis Busi Mhlongo's percussive art form you hear a backbeat to a troubled and triumphant South African history.
The African griot, August Wilson, explains the inevitable dichotomy of life and death wisely: "There are always and only two trains running. There is life and there is death. Each of us rides them both. To live life with dignity, to celebrate and accept responsibility for your presence in the world is all that can be asked of anyone."
Jeffrey Sehume, Kwa-Thema