***BREAKING NEWS*** The Black Freq Sheets have a lifelong love affair with all things (art) brazen and all artists that have ever been labeled as such.***ALERT***
Therefore, whereas, and because of that, we had to do our part in bringing the net to a screeching halt for the crossing of the honey laden voice and multi-award winning singer of Sophiatown,
Mama Thandi Klaasan.
The jazz legend and icon has passed at the age of 86 after a long bout with pancreatic cancer and the planet should do something different about it. The passing comes serendipiduosly on the dawn of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in America and on the heels of the arrest of Nelson Mandela’s grandson for contempt of court. Let that ball roll around and see if it sinks. #orstinks
Klaasen regaled audiences with more than her gifted voice but with her use of the Kasi lingo (Tsotsi taal) too. She began her career performing with other South African greats like Miriam Makeba, the singer of the international hit, Pata, Pata or The Click Song that is written in the Xhosa language.
1960’s King Kong saw Klaasen, who suffered an acid injury to her face in childhood, leap to international acclaim as part of the musical presentation in London. The exposure lead to opportune performances with American contemporaries such as Roberta Flack and Patti Labelle.
It should be noted (and will be in The Black Freq Sheets) that Klaasen was a pioneer in South African jazz, breaking the glass ceiling at a time (the horrible, God awful 1950s) when men dominated the movement.
Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa shared his concerns with her illness as well as sent prayers to her family. In 2006, Klaasen was honored with the National Order of the Baobab in Gold for her song Sophiatown, in which she “masterfully and beautifully describes the town where she was brought up”, Mthethwa said.
The jazz legend has awards to rival Serena, including a lifetime achievement award from the 2006 South African Music Awards. Thandi Klaasen will be remembered for her contributions to fighting apartheid and for liberation in South Africa beyond the music as her fans appear to appreciate her humanity beyond her artistic ability.
Fans and fellow musicians alike have taken to their social media platforms and other measures to mourn the passing of Klaasen and celebrate her life and music. The Black Freq Sheets share the paining anxiety of missing the musician, social and political activist that was outspoken about South African economic and political issues.
South Africa President Zuma also expressed his “deepest condolences to her family, relatives and all in the arts and culture industry” as it is the entire arts industry that mourns her passing. “The country has lost one of its internationally acclaimed and respected jazz icons in Ms Thandi Klassen. Her passing is a tragic loss to the nation,” expressed President Zuma.