ENTERTAINMENT NEWS - Government has honoured well-known legends Hugh Masekela, Dr Phillip Tabane and Professor Willie Keorapetse Kgositsile with postage stamps.
The three were honoured for the role they played during the country’s darkest of times of apartheid.
This is a result of a 2018 Cabinet decision, which would see the South African Post Office (SAPO) honour the three artists, whose words and music left an imprint on the continent and the world.
Masekela was an award-winning jazz maestro, who also went into exile before returning to South Africa when political parties were unbanned.
He is known as the Father of South African jazz, with 40 albums under his name. He succumbed to cancer in 2018.
Tabane is a renowned vocalist, jazz guitarist and bandleader. He died at the age of 84 in 2018. He was recognised as one of the best musicians and was awarded honourary doctoral degrees.
Kgositsile, who also passed away in 2018, was a journalist turned author. He was a renowned poet and teacher, whose dedication to politics led him to establish the African National Congress’ Department of Education and Department of Arts and Culture.
He was the country’s first National Poet Laureate in 1996, and received the National Order of Ikhamanga in 2008.
Speaking during the commemorative launch on Tuesday, Communications and Digital Technologies Minister, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, said stamps play a critical role as a small ambassador for the country. Stamps travel across the world in the global postal network.
“Stamps also serve as a nation builder and educational tool, as they reflect the country’s diverse culture, history, heritage, heroes and heroines, who played a critical role in the development of our country.”
They also attract huge interest for stamp collectors, and what is portrayed becomes very critical and serves as a revenue-generating source for the Post Office.
“As e-commerce markets develop and grow, so does the parcel market that needs effective and efficient logistical value chain, supported by digital infrastructure. We also need to ensure that these commemorative stamps are digitised and sold on digital platforms,” the Minister said.
Ndabeni-Abrahams believes SAPO still has an important role to play in the digital age.
“We’re talking about the postal service, something that people think doesn’t matter in these days where, from the comfort of your bedroom, you can send a message to your child downstairs to bring you water."
“Have you ever imagined instead of calling when you’re [away], you [send a] postcard with a stamp?” she remarked, saying little things like this should still matter in this modern age.
“There is uniqueness and something special about receiving a Christmas or birthday message on a postcard specifically addressed to [you].”
Ndabeni-Abrahams used the platform to throw her weight behind the arts.
“How do we make sure coming out of COVID-19, that the creative industry, which has suffered a huge blow, [has a] digital platform for [practitioners] to continue sharing the stories that they share in whatever mode they utilise?”
She said history needed to be showcased and one way of doing that is through art.
“No one is not touched by the creative industry, whether you’re a scientist or in whatever profession. As government, this commemorative stamp is one of the ways that we say their work and legacy will forever live with us and is very much appreciated,” the Minister said. – SAnews.gov.za