The Recording Industry of South Africa (RiSA) learned of the devastating news of the passing away of Mama Sibongile Khumalo, the mezzo-soprano par excellence. Her family confirmed in a statement that she passed away yesterday. She was 63.
Khumalo’s career spans over 30 years, was catapulted into greatness when she won the Standard Bank Young Artist Award in 1993.
Known to some as the Empress of Song, Khumalo endowed South Africa with an impeccable songbook. Her recordings straddle influences as varied as amahubo of Princess Magogo ka Dinizulu and Sesotho folk songs like U Ea Kae and the jazz classic Yakhalinkomo. Her original recordings dipped into opera, jazz and Afro-pop with great ease.
Her albums such as Ancient Evenings, Live at The Market Theatre and Quest achieved great success at the SA Music Awards (SAMA) earning her several trophies and she has been a guest presenter on our stage a few times.
Commented RiSA CEO Nhlanhla Sibisi: “As someone who had the privilege to meet and know Mama Sibongile, I know she will be remembered for her youthful exuberance, generosity of spirit and the matronly role she played in the industry. Her music will live on for generations to come. On behalf of RiSA we send our condolences to her family, her fans and supporters and the greater South African music loving public. May her soul rest in peace.”