MIDRAND : MAY 3, 2002
It is indeed for me a great pleasure and honour to receive this posthumous accolade on behalf of my mother, Princess Magogo ka Dinuzulu. This award means a lot to me, not only for the eternal love which I bear for my motherís memory but also for the significance it has in my own life. My mother played an enormous role in my life in terms of guidance, support and constant encouragement. However, in addition to this, she bestowed upon me a gift of incommensurable value. She taught me an appreciation for music and enabled music to be all around me for the rest of my life.
Since I was a child I remember music being the very essence of my motherís life. Now that she is no longer and music has remained such an important part of my own life, whenever I hear music I continue to feel my motherís warm support and encouragement. Princess Magogo loved music because she loved life. For her, music was the full appreciation of life at its best. She composed and sang to express the full measure of her God-given talents and to fulfil the best of her human potentials. Her composition, her daily songs and the love for music which she infused in so many of her long-time or even occasional pupils, were indeed a reflection of the best in her. Her inner beauty was outpoured in her composition. The generosity of her heart and the greatness of her soul found their expression in the love which she brought into educating people all around her in the appreciation of music and singing.
I remember her love for church hymns which carried so much solemnity and hope in the eternal quest for the redemption of the soul. I think, more than anything else, these hymns had an enormous influence on her musical make-up. They were also very close to the African choral tradition. Within the framework of choral pathos she found the merging of the European tradition of church music with the sounds of our own peopleís best musical expressions. In so doing she succeeded in portraying the musical pathos of Africa at its best. I feel therefore that it is proper and fitting that one of the first operas ever completely written and produced in Africa, should be dedicated to celebrating her lifeís journey as an example of Africaís own renaissance.
The opera, "Princess Magogo ka Dinuzulu", will have its first world premier tomorrow in Durban, being simultaneously broadcast in the United States, the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Therefore, I find that there is great serendipity in this important accolade being awarded to my motherís memory this evening. I must thank the organisers of this event for their timing and for the great recognition they have bestowed
not only on my motherís memory, but indeed on our own African musical tradition and heritage. This is an important recognition that African music has come to maturity, not only in respect of its powerful messages and underlying emotional texture, but also as far as the complex phraseologies and technique of its structure is concerned. I am very proud that my motherís lifeís work has been recognised as an important milestone in this evolution.
She sang to affirm her personality because she was indeed a strong and proud woman who felt that, as a woman, she would not be second to anyone, even though she was the daughter of a King and the wife of a Prime Minister. She found her own realm in which to express the strength of her character and the nobility of her heart, and in so doing she made a statement that survived in dignity alongside those of the great men who surrounded her throughout her life. For this reason, I feel that if she were here with us tonight she would rightly regard this accolade not only as a recognition of her musical skills, but indeed as an attestation of the role that women may play in any context in which they find themselves operating. It is therefore for me a great pleasure and most touching to receive this accolade on her behalf.