The African National Congress (ANC) in the Eastern Cape wish to convey its heartfelt condolences to the Mjana family as well as lovers of choral music countrywide on the passing away of Dr Makhaya Mjana on Thursday 28 February 2019 after a short illness at the of 66 years.
Dr Mjana dedicated most of his life and expertise to the development of choral music in South Africa.
Dr. Mjana was a good singer, choir trainer and choral music director who has in turn trained a number of adult and school choirs (Matthews Singers, Joy of Africa, Princess Square Singers, Zwelitsha Adult Choir, EC’s and Belcanto Singers. When he writes music, he says that he addresses himself first, then talks to his ancestors oZotsho, the Creator and posterity (Interview with Ndlela 2000).
He was commissioned to compose for several special events. When Lovedale College was celebrating 150 years in 1990, he wrote a song entitled Qingqa Lovedale (Stand Up, Lovedale). The following year, when Fort Hare University was installing its first Black Chancellor, the late Oliver Tambo, he came up with Halala Nokholeji (Hail College). In the same year, he wrote a song in honour of Govan Mbeki (father of President Mbeki ) entitled Halala Govan Mbeki (Hail Govan Mbeki).
In 1994 he was one of the composers who were commissioned by the national government to write a new version of the National Anthem, Nkosi Sikelel’ Afrika (God Bless Africa). In 1997, Dr Mjana and Joy of Africa choristers were cast members of Footprints, a movie produced by renowned South African film producer, Ben Nomoyi. Under his music directorship Joy of Africa had a international tour to Boston in 1998.
In May 2001 he was awarded an Honorary Masters degree by the University of Fort Hare for his contribution to African music. His choir, the Joy of Africa, based in Port Elizabeth, has won on many occasions in the National Old Mutual/Telkom choir festival, a festival that has been held every year since 1979.
Dr Mjana will be remembered as a man who was admired and respected by all who knew him, not only for his musical abilities and skills but also as a man who loved peace, who never quarrelled and who gave wholeheartedly his love of choral music.
We will remember Dr Makhaya Mjana as a pillar of music education development in our country. We acknowledge his invaluable contribution to the advancement of music through numerous activities.He was one of the most generous, loving and ebullient people we knew.
We will all miss him and wish his family and friends strength in these difficult times.May his soul rest in peace.
ANC Eastern Cape Communications
ANC Media & Liaison Officer
Mobile No: 0636878267/0731176194
Head of Communications