Mpumalanga’s acting premier, Refilwe Mtshweni, is expected to make an announcement regarding music legend Ray Chikapa Phiri’s funeral arrangements after her swearing-in this afternoon.
Mtshweni, who is Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC, will be holding the fort while Premier David Mabuza is on leave.
She is expected to make the announcement shortly after her swearing-in, said spokesperson Zibonele Mncwango.
“The acting premier will be making an important announcement on behalf of the provincial government shortly after assuming the delegated responsibility,” he said.
Phiri succumbed to lung cancer in the early hours of this morning at the Nelspruit Mediclinic. He was 70 years old at the time of his death.
Phiri was born in Mpumalanga on March 23, 1947.
He was the founding member of the Cannibals in the 1970s. When this group disbanded, Phiri founded the multi-award winning Stimela. Stimela produced gold and platinum-selling albums like Fire, Passion and Ecstacy (1991), Look, Listen and Decide (1992) as well as the controversial People Don’t Talk So Let’s Talk.
Phiri is the recipient of the presidential Order of Ikhamanga for his sterling contribution to the South African music industry.
When he returned to his home province early in the last decade, he served as Mpumalanga Arts and Culture Council chairperson from 2003 to 2009.
“He continued working with our department,” said Mpumalanga Department of Culture Sport and Recreation spokesperson Sibongile Nkosi.
“We would seek advice from Bra Ray from time to time and we often bumped into him at the corridors of our office. We’ve lost an asset … condolences to his family and fans,” Nkosi said.