Singer-songwriter Theuns Jordaan dies after short struggle with cancer

On Wednesday South Africans were mourning the death of renowned Afrikaans singer and songwriter Theuns Jordaan at the age of 50. 

The circumstances around the death of the singer — who was diagnosed with leukaemia in September 2020 and received chemotherapy — were not made public on Wednesday. According to a post on his official Facebook account in July, however, he was in remission.

After news of Jordaan’s death broke, tributes poured in from fans and fellow artists.

Acclaimed musician Coenie de Villiers told the Mail & Guardian of the “visceral shock” of hearing about Jordaan’s death, adding: “We thought that things were getting better.”

“Theuns will always be with us and he will always be known for the rich sound of his voice and his wonderful integrity and quality of his music, which has become a stock standard part of [the] South African [music landscape], especially in the Afrikaans market,” De Villiers said.

“He will be sorely missed, not only as a friend, but as a musician, as a songwriter and as a massive presence in the South African firmament. We will miss you: rest in peace brother — travel safely.” 

Jordaan released his first album, Vreemde Stad, in 2000; ever since then his distinct raspy voice and stage presence has made him one of South Africa’s most beloved singers.

He gained prominence with the hit songs Soos bloed, Sal jy bly and Net voor die storm kom, and sold more than one million album copies. He received several accolades, including at the South African Music Awards  in 2013 for bestselling artist for his album Roeper

He also inspired young artists who shared the stage with him during music festivals. 

The Voice South Africa season two’s “Queen of Hearts”, Caroline Grace Brüssow, told the M&G about her “memorable” and “special” first meeting with Jordaan backstage at the InniBos Nasionale Kunstefees in Nelspruit, and how she thought of him as “a gentle giant”.

“He was an absolute legend; he will continue to sing in our hearts. As artists we will continue to sing his music, carrying it forward,” Brüssow said.

An avid listener of Jordaan’s music, Zelda Le Grange, who was the private secretary to late former president Nelson Mandela, wrote on her Facebook page that the singer was “always ready for a silly joke, tease or razor-sharp sarcasm”.

“Difficult man, but reason for which I have total understanding … May his music live on forever. May his guitar never fall silent. ‘His tune may have ended but the music lingers on.’ Rest in peace dearest Theuns,” Le Grange said in the post.

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Eunice Stoltz
Eunice Stoltz is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian.

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