Legendary jazz icon and activist, Jonas Gwangwa, who died on Saturday last week, will be honoured with a special provincial state funeral. Gwangwa, who died aged 83, will be laid to rest on Friday, and the funeral service will be streamed live on YouTube, the family said in a statement.
The funeral service will be held at Christ King Anglican Church, 49 Ray Street, Sophiatown, from 9am. The family has appealed to the public not to join them in sending the jazz icon off due to the Covid-19 regulations that only allow 50 people to attend funerals.
“As the family, we are conscious of the negative role that funerals play in spreading the virus, thus we will strictly adhere to relevant regulations and contribute positively to the country’s fight against the Covid-19 regulations pandemic. We request and will appreciate your support for social distancing, masking and sanitising. The church service will be streamed online via YouTube link, which will be accessible even after Friday,” the family said in a statement.
The trailblazing musician and cultural ambassador died on the same date as his contemporaries, Hugh Masekela and Oliver Mtukudzi. Former president, Thabo Mbeki said Gwangwa understood the potent combination of culture and the arts as an effective instrument for national liberation from the beginning of his career.
He said Gwangwa 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.
Days after his death was announced, Gwangwa’s music saw an increase in online downloads. His album, Flowers of the Nation, which was released in January 1990 is currently on the Itunes’ top 100 most popular and best-selling albums in South African charts. The album is sitting at number two while his other album, Sounds from Exile is at number five, showing that it was getting attention from music fans.