It has been a year that has left prints of sadness as the cultural and arts industry sees more artists passing away. The KwaZulu-Natal arts fraternity today woke up to the news that Simon Bhekathina Phelelani Mnomiya has passed away. His passing has left the choral music community shattered. Mnomiya is renowned as a composer, pianist, adjudicator and educator.
Born in Empangeni he did his elementary education in Emkhandlwini near Melmoth and later moved to Durban where he showed passion for choral music. Forming gospel groups in high school and joining the school choir are some of the foundations to his lifetime achievement as a music composer. Some of his popular compositions include Amadlelo Aluhlaza, Kuhle Kwethu and Madiba, but it is "Ihele" that resonated with what he stood for which was eventually adopted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal as a graduation procession song. Having worked as an educator in Manzolwandle and ComTech in Umlaza, he further fulfilled his passion for education by being a lecturer in University of KwaZulu-Natal. He remained a "contemporary voice" in choral music and this enticed most of the choral competitions to prescribe his music.
"As this musical genius leaves us, we are in awe of his legacy as a professional who did not only pursue choral music performance but poured his creative energy into composing music. We are always encouraging the youth to participate in different aspects of choral music, from composing to playing the piano. His presence in most of choral competitions as an adjudicator and facilitator show that we wanted to learn more from him. We extend our heartfelt condolences to family and friends," says MEC Hlengiwe Mavimbela.