JOHANNESBURG – Smooth-voiced South African jazz musician Gloria Bosman has been lauded for her contribution to the country’s music industry in a career spanning more than two decades.
Bosman died on Tuesday following a short illness, her family announced.
“After a short illness, she transcended peacefully at her home, surrounded by family," the family said in a statement. "Gloria had devoted her life, not just to her family, but to her music, she was loved and adored by many here in South Africa and beyond its borders.”
The Soweto-born Bosman was praised for her soothing, silky vocals and versatility in crossing over to various music genres.
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress party paid tribute to Bosman, saying the country's music industry will be poorer without her.
“Gloria Bosman belongs to a generation of female musical greats who refused to submit to patriarchal stereotypes in a male dominated industry. She was a fiery and militant revolutionary in the creative sector,” the ANC said in a statement.
South African jazz legend Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse was among the first to express sadness at her passing, tweeting that he was “sad, gutted and shattered.”
Bosman started singing in church and theaters, but a scholarship to study opera at the then-Pretoria Technikon (now Tshwane University of Technology) was crucial in her development as an artist.
She returned to perform at the educational institution later in her career.
The award-winning musician’s first album “Tranquility” was released in 1999 to critical acclaim, winning her the Best Newcomer award at the South African Music Awards.
Her career took off and later she won a second Sama awards and 11 nominations, won two Africa-wide Kora awards and performed on many stages across the world.
Bosman performed and recorded with some of South Africa's prominent musicians including the late Hugh Masekela, Sibongile Khumalo and Moses Molelekwa, as well as Zimbabwe's Oliver Mutukudzi.
In December last year she was appointed to the board of the South African Music Rights Organization, a body set up to protect the intellectual property of music creators by collecting licensing fees and distributing royalties.
“As a composer and a performing artist, in the short period that Ms. Bosman was a member of the board, she added a perspective that comprised of a rich blend of insights on member aspirations as well as the direction that our organization should continue to march towards,” said Samro board chairman Nicholas Maweni.
Details for her memorial services and funeral have not been announced.