Panafrican News Agency

South Africa: South African jazz legend passes on at 70

Cape Town, South Africa (PANA) – Jazz legend Ray Phiri died in the early hours of Wednesday morning after being admitted to a Nelspruit hospital with lung cancer.

In his final interview with The Sowetan newspaper last week he said: “Let me suffer in peace on my own with my dignity.”

Born in Mpumulanga in 1947 he was a founding member of the Cannibals in the 1970s. When the Cannibals disbanded, Ray founded Stimela, with whom he conceived gold and platinum-selling albums.

In 1985, Paul Simon asked Phiri and Ladysmith Black Mambazo to work on his acclaimed Graceland album. Phiri collaborated with Simon again on the album Rhythm of the Saints album, which saw him perform in New York.

Phiri has received many awards in recognition for his contribution in the music industry. One of these is the Order of Ikhamanga awarded to him by former President Thabo Mbeki to honour his sterling contribution to the South African music industry and the successful use of arts as an instrument of social transformation.
-0- PANA CU/MA 12July2017