Tribute to a legend: Jonas Gwangwa

Arguably the greatest trombone player to have come out of the African continent, Jonas Mosa Gwangwa was born in Orlando East, Soweto, on October 19 1937 in a family of pianists. Both parents and a sister were proficient players.

Besides producing and recording albums, he has made a remarkable contribution to scores for movies and TV productions. They include the score and theme song for Richard Attenborough’s film Cry Freedom (1988), based on journalist Donald Woods’ friendship with Steve Biko. The score, which he created with George Fenton, earned him several achievements, notably two Oscar nominations.

Gwangwa has been lauded by the music industry as a gentle giant and massively talented artist.

Former president Thabo Mbeki said together with other artists of his era, the 83-year-old harnessed the enthralling capacity of music not just to entertain, but also to hold up the mirror to society and bare the evil soul of the apartheid regime to the world. 

Legendary jazz music maestro and activist Jonas Gwangwa died on Saturday at the age of 83, has had persistent health issues for the last two years ago. The trombonist died just two weeks after his wife Violet Molebatsi Gwangwa died.