Minister Nathi Mthethwa pays tribute to the late George Michael

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26 Dec 2016

We are shocked at the passing of legendary pop star, George Michael.

His best selling hits include the 1984 song, "Careless Whisper," which he did as part of the pop duo called "Wham" which wowed and wooed a generation in the 1980s including in South Africa and continues to interest new fans.

We salute George Michael for supporting our cause for freedom and for playing at the Free Nelson Mandela Concert to mark Tata Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday, which was held at Wembley Stadium, London in June 1988. This concert raised worldwide consciousness of apartheid and the imprisonment of Madiba and other freedom fighters by the apartheid government.

George Michael stood up for LGBT rights. He championed the rights of artists and fought for ownership of his music.

He had a hugely successful solo career. He collaborated with artists like Elton John and Aretha Franklin.

His song "Faith" released in 1987 where he sings "you gotta have faith" is some consolation for us as we remember him and try to come to terms with his passing.

The solo album "Faith" of which the song was part of, sold more than 25 million copies worldwide since its release. He sold more than 100 million records in his career.

His life was not without controversy with drug use and car accidents at times dominating the headlines.

His music has an evergreen quality that will continue to attract new listeners. We bid him a fond and nostalgic farewell knowing that at this time of the year, many fans are listening to the song, "Last Christmas".

The words of the song, "Careless Whisper" are a fitting swan song for George Michael himself:

"As the music dies, something in your eyes

Calls to mind the silver screen

And all its sad good-byes..."

We shall continue to play his music and still see his image on the silver screen.

For comments, please call: Lisa Combrinck at 082 821 4886