I sing the body eclectic: rethinking opera for a more inclusive ...


I sing the body eclectic: rethinking opera for a more inclusive world

Death of Mzilikazi Khumalo reminds us that what was once the quintessential Western art form has far wider power

Chris Thurman

We are living in an age of loss: lost lives, lost opportunities, lost stories. We feel the Covid-19 net tightening around us in SA as we watch people in other countries getting back to “normal”. Reports of friends and acquaintances battling the effects of the coronavirus in bed or hospital fill our newsfeeds and waking thoughts. Some of us are lucky to be fearing for our families; others, less fortunate, are in mourning departed loved ones.

At such a time, the deaths of public figures (whether by Covid-19 or not) carry additional weight. We grieve for individuals whose names and faces we recognise, even if we didn’t know them personally. They stand in for the anonymous thousands whose deaths are condensed into infographics and official statistics.

In these circumstances, the deaths of elders, whose passing we might otherwise mark with solemnity, not with anguish, seem to cause a sharper pain, a more acute sense of sorrow. So it has been with Prof Mzilikazi Khumalo, who died recently at the age of 89...

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