Minister Nathi Mthethwa Pays Tribute to the late Johnny Dimba

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23 Jan 2015

It is with a deep sense of shock and sadness that we learned of the passing of legendary musician, poet and activist, Johnny Dimba. He passed away recently at the City Hospital in Durban after a short illness.

He was popularly known as “Incwasimende,” for his immaculate dress sense and debonair personality. He was a fountain of knowledge that flowed through generations of South African artists and music lovers. In his musical career that spans over three decades, he worked with legendary performers including Abigail Kubheka, Sugar Share and Disco Jive, among others. He was probably most well-known for his hit song, “Dear Msakazi,” which blared on radio stations across South Africa. 

What is less known about him is that he had three law degrees. As a qualified lawyer, Incwasimende brought dignity and respect to maskandi music. He was one of the leading entertainment lawyers in South Africa and also served in the International Association of Entertainment Lawyers. He dedicated his time to nurturing young talent, imparting knowledge and skills to arts practitioners, advising on policy matters and campaigning against piracy.

He was also the advocate for the recognition of the Arts, Culture and Heritage industry as a powerful tool for economic emancipation. His convictions are in line with the Department of Arts and Culture’s Mzansi Golden Economy (MGE), whose objectives include the advancement of the economic potential of the arts, culture and heritage industry to alleviate poverty and create sustainable jobs. His passing occurs at the time when his knowledge, wisdom and dedication are needed the most in the arts fraternity.

In Johnny Dimba we have lost a humble person, a talented musician and an inspirational figure to society at large. We find solace in the realisation that his words and melodies will keep resounding from beyond the grave. Our heartfelt condolences go to his family, relatives and friends who were privileged enough to be part of his life.

Media queries: Lisa Combrinck @ 0828214886, email: LisaC@dac.gov.za