Former Mpumalanga premier and Africa National Congress (ANC) Presidential candidate Mattews Phosa has urged the government of his province to build a musical theatre in honour of late jazz maestro Ray Phiri, who died last week.
The late musician has already been accorded a provincial funeral and will be buried in Mpumalanga this weekend.
Phosa, who was the first Premier of Mpumalanga, from 1994 to 1999, said the Ray Phiri musical theatre is worth an investment by the government.
He said: “During my time as the Premier of Mpumalanga, there was a discussion to build a Musical theatre, which I still believe that the Mpumalanga government should do that in the honour of this giant.”
Phosa, a freedom fighter, one of the first four members of the ANC to enter South Africa from exile in 1990 in order to start the process of the negotiations with the National Party government, said Phiri played a significant role in liberating South Africa.
“It was in the dark days of our struggle as commanders and freedom fighters, we could draw inspiration from Ray and Stimela through their music. As it gave us hope and courage to continue with the fight for the struggle of our people and the country,” said Phosa.
He urged young South Africans to draw lessons from the late jazz musician.
Phosa said: “The lessons we need to learn from the life of this great legend is for us to rally our young people behind the art, education and technology…our young people cannot afford to be disenfranchised when they grow up with such rich legacies left by the great legends like Ray Phiri.”
The ANC has also paid tribute to the musician saying: “Ray was able to use his music to contribute in the struggle for liberation of this country, together with his group Stimela they had many of their songs banned by the apartheid regime; Ray Phiri holds the order of the Ikhamanga in Silver for his excellent achievement in the field of music and contribution to the struggle against apartheid.”
Ray Phiri will be buried in his home province on Saturday.