It was a celebration of an artist who never abandoned love.
In an auditorium filled with jazz aficionados, fans, and artists, MC Lupi Ngcayisa paid tribute to musician Gloria Bosman at the Soweto Theatre at Jabulani in Soweto.
Family and friends gathered to celebrate the life of a jazz giant who passed away on 14 March at her home in Pimville, Soweto.
The MC opened the service with Gloria’s clan names, and as someone who was close to her and appreciated her music, Lupi thanked her for being "the soundtrack of our lives", as she has been in the music industry for two decades.
“It is inhumanly impossible to speak of her in the past. Everyone who has been around Gloria knows that she embodied love. The love that she brought with her was amazing, she never failed to show love, and Gloria has never betrayed love. She created an institute out of her life.”
Lupi says it is now Gloria’s music lovers’ responsibility to keep her name and music alive and that her music shall live on.
“When you listen to Gloria’s music, you will get the strong sense that there was a poet in her. Her love for words showed in her artistry.”
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A short clip of the Amaqwati singer was played, with her performances and the words of wisdom she shared with the country and the artists.
She loved being African and in one of the clips, she speaks about the importance of celebrating and being proud of her South African heritage.
South African jazz saxophonist McCoy Mrubata, who met Gloria when she was a teen in the 80s and features her in her album, says when they did some work at the Market Theatre in the 90 it was evident that she was destined for the bigger stage.
“At that age, and she was a tiny girl, but she was on par with Mam Sophie Mgcina, that is how great she was. We went to sign together at Sheer Music. To Karabelo and her granddaughter, may her soul rest in peace.”
Radio jock Brenda Sisane says their friendship was founded backstage in shows, they use to talk about music and life.
“I won’t claim that we spoke on the phone a lot, but I can state that whenever she spoke, I heard. She embodied this incredible human. And I would like to talk about her as the thinker that she was. I like it when you write that you were profound. Her natural wit, ability to write about spirituality, write syntax that shows how she was brought up.”
She ended her speech with a letter she received from Gloria on her birthday. She says she didn’t know that she would be saying it back to her, as it was her birthday on Tuesday.
Metro FM’s Nothemba Madumo says she dressed up to pay tribute to Gloria who always saw her in overalls and torn jeans.
“I am dressed like this because I am paying respect to Gloria. I want her to know I can do these things. I would like to say thank you to the family to allow me to say something today. You can tell she’s been loved by various generations and the country at large. Whatever Brenda said I concur because that is exactly how Gloria was. All my moments with her were glorious that is why I called her glorious. She never said no to any event I asked her to take part in. Our conversations were full of laughter. Her artistry is important for us to treasure. Thank you Gloria for embracing your free spirit.”
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Nothemba says Gloria is one of the women in her life she continues to learn from, she navigated this life by radiating strength and poise despite the circumstance.
“Gloria understood the assignment and she excelled at it. The assignment is very simple, and it is a quote from Nicki Giovanni’s poem. ‘Black love is Black wealth and they'll probably talk about my hard childhood and never understand that all the while I was quite happy.’”
Abigail Kubheka, who also sang on stage, says she can proudly say that she "brought that girl up".
“I have been blessed to have worked with her and other artists in the 65 years I have lived in this industry. And I stand here very proud because I saw Gloria and Sibongile on stage I remember back in my time and missed my sisters whom I started doing music with. I don’t have much to say but I will render a song that we used to do when we used to work together. Gloria, you are a lovely kid, brave kid, rest in peace my darling we will never forget you, and thank you for the music.”