Ray Phiri...strutting his stuff on stage

THE death of Ray Phiri, South Africa’s afro-jazz legend at the age of 70 has prompted an outpouring of condolence messages and tributes to his iconic status on social media.

Phiri succumbed to death early on Wednesday morning at a South African hospital where he was admitted just a few days ago with terminal lung cancer.

In an interview with The Sowetan newspaper earlier this month, Phiri said: “Let me suffer [in peace with my] pain, on my own with my dignity.”

Speaking to the media this morning Phiri’s family spokesperson Paul Nkanyane said: “His 112-year-old mother and the whole family are shattered.”

Raymond Chikapa Enock Phiri was born in Nelspruit in 1947 to a Malawian immigrant worker and a South African mother. Ray’s father, who was apparently a talented guitarist himself, was nicknamed “Just Now” Phiri because of his prowess.

Chikapa, as Phiri was fondly known to music lovers, was the frontman for the acclaimed jazz group Stimela.

Phiri received many accolades during the course of his career including the 18th MTN South African music awards in which he and Vusa Mahlasela were awarded Lifetime Achievement for “invaluable contribution to the culture of South Africa.”

Below are some of the tributes which have been pouring in for Phiri on Twitter, with people using the hashtag #RIPRayPhiri

Orlando Pirates FC @Orlando_Pirates

SA music legend, Ray Phiri, has passed away at the age of 70. Our deepest condolences to his family. May his soul rest in peace.

BET Africa ch. 129 @BET_Africa

What a loss! Rest In Peace, Ray Phiri. Through your music, you never missed a beat. May it live on forever!

Maqhawenkosi Manceda @MaqhawenkosiMa1

Goodbye Ray Phiri you have run your race. Its hard to believe he was 70. He performed like a young man!

Nontobeko Sibisi @Nontobek0Sibisi

#RIPRayPhiri – From the days of ‘The Cannibals’, ‘Stimela’ to his 70’s – Ray Phiri, Ikhamanga music great – We Salute & Thank You!

Cathy Bulelwa Mgwayi @MsCatheeeGod loved the world so much that he sent a special man to come bless the SA music industry, and that man was Ntate Ray Phiri. #RIPRayPhiri,

  1. Mu @MuNgcolosi

    Thinking of #JoyOfJazz2017 without the prolific guitarist, vocalist, philosopher, legend, Star, a writer the brand and humble #RayPhiri

Ranga.?￰゚ヌᄐ @RangaMberi

Replying to @RangaMberi

The guitar, the smile, the dance… Ray Phiri, Township Jive, Harare 1987 #RIPRayPhiri

Big Picture Thinkers @BpThinkers

RIP Legend It was your music that touched our fore fathers, grandparents and parents. Thank you for giving us timeless music. #rayphiri

alistair king @ALsparkles

Today is Stimela day from start to finish. I have always been such a ridiculous groupie of this man. SA is poorer today. RIP Ray Phiri.

MaxAfrica @MaxAfrika

RIP Ray Phiri. Go well Legend. Thank you for the music.

Karabo Lediga @MissLed

My mom took us on holiday to Mafikeng and on one of the bus stopovers, Ray Phiri and Stimela got onto the bus. We were like whaaaaaaaaat!


  1. Bra Ray Rest In Peace buti wam. This is a huge loss to SA music. I had the privilege of seeing him perform in 2007 and I was blown away by what he could do with a guitar. Lala ngoxolo bra Ray!