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South African musician Musa Manzini passes away, manager confirms

South African musician Musa Manzini has died aged 51, according to Music In Africa.

The news about Manzini’s death was confirmed on social media by his manager Sbu Tshabalala.

“It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of Musa Manzini. One of the best bassist, a friend, a brother, family, a Muslim,” Tshabalala wrote. “I’ve learned a lot from him and he also introduced me to some of the great musicians in South Africa.”

According to local media, Manzini passed away at a local hospital after suffering a seizure. In 2021, Manzini sought donations to support payment for his brain surgery. Before the operation, the guitarist had undergone four operations to remove a recurring brain tumour.

Artists and music industry players took to social media to convey their condolences following news of the artist’s passing.

“SAMRO is saddened by the passing of award-winning jazz musician and bass guitarist Musa Manzini,” the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) wrote. “We express heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and the broader music industry.”

South African broadcaster Nicky Blumenfeld wrote: “So sad to hear of the passing this morning of one of our greatest bassists Musa Manzini. We thank you for your contribution and impact, your bravery is admirable, may you rest in peace.”

Media strategist and PR agency specialist Vanessa Perumal wrote: “Musa Manzini was a brave warrior. May your soul rest in peace, thank you for sharing your story and may your music celebrate your legacy forever.”

Radio 2000 presenter Mmatsheko Mosito wrote: “I have been carrying Musa Manzini’s tributes and memories in my spirit for weeks. Listening to it in my car and ruminating a little bit about the stuff it helped me to overcome. I owe a part of my teen healing to this record.”

Manzini was born at Inanda, north of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. While studying composition and orchestration at the University of Cape Town, he received the Prof Peter Klatzow Award in 1995. After graduating with a bachelor of music degree, he spent three years as a part-time lecturer at UCT instructing electric and acoustic bass, jazz theory and improvisation to bridging course students, while at the same time performing and recording as a session musician around the country with artists like René McLean, Jimmy Dludlu, Jonathan Butler, Gavin Minter, Nhlanhla Magagula, Kevin Gibson, Mark Goliath, Judith Sephuma and Winston Ngozi, among others.

Manzini’s style and sound was influenced by the multi-faceted Cape Flats music scene, mostly the townships of Gugulethu, Langa, Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha. He played the bass as a lead instrument, following in the footsteps of Sipho Gumede, Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller and John Patitucci. Manzini was also well-versed in acoustic or double bass. Some of Manzini’s albums are My Bass, Tributes & Memories, New Reflections, and Simply Life.




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