Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba says South Africans must appreciate the role that jazz singer, Thandi Klaasen, played in the arts and performance industry.

The Sophiatown artist succumbed to cancer on Sunday at the East Rand Hospital, at the age of 86.

Klaasen’s career began in the 1950s and she performed alongside musicians such as Dolly Rathebe and Miriam Makeba.

Mashaba was speaking at the family home in Eden Park, Ekurhuleni.

“As South Africans, we need to really be grateful of the role that Thandi played on this country’s arts industry because art is such a crucial part of building any society.”

“For us as South Africa, we were blessed with her presence, 85-86 years. So, we are here with the family to let them know that they are not the only ones that have lost, but South Africa has lost a legend and the world too.”

“I think she, over the years, has had an opportunity to play at an international level during the dark days of this country’s history.”

On Saturday, Klaasen’s daughter, Lorraine, said her mother lived a full life.

In an interview with SABC Digital News she said her mother is God fearing and she admired her perseverance and endurance.

Lorraine said she respected her mom because, despite all the terrible things that have happened to her, it never dampened her spirit.

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