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Jazz musician Thandi Klaasen dies at 86

R.I.P: Thandi Klaasen

SOUTH AFRICAN jazz singer Thandi Klaasen has passed away.

Klaasen passed away in the early hours of Sunday morning (Jan 14) after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Prominent South Africans have been sharing their condolences and memories on the late singer, including President Jacob Zuma who said the nation had lost a leading pioneer of jazz who promoted a "cosmopolitan culture".

The Arts And Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa also conveyed condolences to Klaasen's family on Twitter.


NATHI MTHETHWA TWITTER

Born to a shoemaker and a domestic worker in racially segregated South Africa, Klaasen performed with US stars such as Roberta Flack and Patti LaBelle in a career of more than 50 years.

Growing up under white minority rule in South Africa, she gained a reputation for fighting both racism and sexism.

"Her career as a singer and dancer began in the mid-1950s when the apartheid and patriarchal system were entrenched but that did not deter her from pursuing her dreams," the governing African National Congress women's wing said in a statement.

Zuma added: "She was a role model to many of our young and upcoming musicians and her legacy will live on for generations to come."

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