Minister Nathi Mthethwa pays tribute to the late Lehlara Banza Samson Kgasoane

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21 Dec 2015

When the history book is written of all those outstanding individuals who led exemplary lives and used all their physical, mental and creative energies to take their art to the world, then a special place shall be allotted to the late Banza Kgasoane.

Of him it must surely be said that he fought a good fight, he finished the race and kept the faith. His life’s work demonstrated an extraordinary ability to use his musical talents and gifts to enrich the lives of others.

Coming from a musical family he must have grown up with a sense of rootedness in the musical culture of his times, with a firm sense of self-belief and a willingness to discover and learn something new.

Yet this was a world of segregation and apartheid and the task of the artist would be to remind those around him of their creativity, that an act of culture is also an act of resistance and that art humanizes us.

It is the mark of a true artist that when we look back at his life, we see perseverance, commitment and focus, a man who kept his trumpet close at hand and whose playing came from the heart.

It is a testimony to his own sense of art as part of building a community that he was not content to travel the world, but that he also wanted to transform the lives of those around him.

As the lead trumpeter in Mango Groove and as the founder of the Alexandra Brass Band, his contribution has been immense.

Like his father before him, Bra Banza has passed his passion on to the next generation.

He understood, as Amilcar Cabral tells us, that “Culture is an essential element of the history of a people. Culture is, perhaps, the product of this history just as the flower is the product of a plant.”

We salute him as a man of culture, a maker of music and a family man – a husband, a father, a creative soul, without which our lives would have been poorer.

We thank the Kgasoane family for sharing his life with ours.

We shall tell his story so that his life of dedication to his art, commitment to his family and community and his quest for excellence can be transmitted to future generations.

We join the Kgasoane family, his friends, fellow musicians and fans in mourning his passing and in bidding our last respects to this great son of our soil.