Jazz legend Thandi Klaasen dies

15 January 2017 - 14:09
By Sowetan LIVE

Jazz legend Thandi Klaasen has died at age 86, Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa confirmed on Sunday morning.

Mthethwa took to Twitter to pay tribute to the Sophiatown singer.

“We are saddened to learn that Jazz Legend Thandi Klaasen has passed on. Our thoughts are with her daughter Lorraine, her loved ones, & fans,” Mthethwa wrote on Twitter.

“uMama Thandi Klaasen will be remembered for her indomitable spirit, who succeeded against all odds and her silky smooth voice which serenaded audiences the world over. How much richer we are having heard her sing.”

“How much she touched our spirits and made us complete beings in a world in which things were falling apart. How her voice endured to sing with us in the age of democracy, during which she was honoured with the order of Ikamanga in Silver in 2006.”

“uMama Thandi Klassen was feisty, street smart, & full of life. She stood the test of time, having had a career which lasted over 5 decades. We’ll remember her song “Sophiatown” where she masterfully & beautifully describes the town where she was brought up.”

Her daughter and singer Lorraine Klaasen also took to Facebook to pay tribute to her mother.

“Today is the day my Mom left us she passed away this morning peacefully. Thank you all for you're kind words and prayers I use to share this encouraging scripture Revelations 21 verse 2 3 4. In part it says Even Death will be no more.no pain.no suffering it will be things of the past.  We will update for funeral arrangement, On behalf of my family, WE THANK YOU ALL.

According to several media reports Klaasen was admitted to hospital in December and she was suffering from pancreatic cancer.

Klaasen’s illustrious music career started in mid-1950 in Sophiatwon and her career took off when she performed with Dolly Rathebe, Miriam Makeba, Dorothy Masuku and Sophie Mgcina.