Ray Phiri Tribute: Herein Lies a Man Who Tried to be Human
And so, now that Ray Chikapa Phiri is dead, what do we do? I do not know. The first challenge is that when you speak about a life committed to life, where do begin? Anyway, let me start…
As a dreamer and creator, Bra Ray committed to a lifetime ‘searching for the missing chord.’ His ‘song, one that told a story of a lifetime’; was about the struggles and dreams of his age, his People. Through song and dance, he catalogued a lifetime of a gallant generation and triumphant struggle for freedom; indeed, a struggle to rehumanise us. And as the final curtain falls, for us who remain behind, it remains ‘an unfinished story…’
The passing of Bra Ray, is yet another sombre reminder in the collective consciousness of South Africans and our individual mortal being, that we sit at the cusp an era that is nigh: an era without the golden generation.
I’m talking here about the golden era of Can Themba, Nat Nakasa, Todd and John Matshikiza, Joe Mafela, Mirriam Makeba, Basil Coetzee, Kippie Moeketsi, Jonny Mekoa, Dolly Rathebe, Brenda Fassie, Al Jereau, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, James Brown, Prof Mzilikazi, Thandi Klaasen and countless others.