The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture says it has learnt with deep sadness of the passing of one of South Africa's revered choral music composers and conductors, Professor Mzilikazi Khumalo.
Professor Khumalo passed away on Tuesday at the age of 89.
He was born on 20 June 1932 to parents who were in the Salvation Army Ministries.
Most of his music was in isiZulu and, having lived in rural KwaZulu-Natal, his compositions reflected his religion and tradition.
He helped put together the first Zulu opera, Princess Magogo kaDinuzulu. It was an opera showcasing the work written by the princess, who was also the mother of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi. The late Sibongile Khumalo released an album in 2005 which included music from that opera.
"Prof Khumalo was a colossal figure in South Africa's arts and cultural landscape. He was undoubtedly an authority in literature and African languages, who deserved every accolade that he received in his lifetime," said Minister Nathi Mthethwa upon hearing of his passing.
Khumalo is also known for being a prominent folksong arranger' choral composer and choir director.
Most notably, Khumalo was part of the committee that amalgamated the Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika prayer with Die Stem to form the post-apartheid South African national anthem.
His music continues to feature prominently in music festivals and competitions in the country and abroad.
"As the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, we celebrate his contribution to the arts and heritage landscape and we extend our deepest sympathies to his family, his friends and to the industry at large. May his soul rest in eternal peace," the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture said in a statement.