Obituary: South African Baritone, Conductor, & Director Zamile Gantana Dies of COVID-19, Aged 47

By Logan Martell

The Isango Ensemble of South Africa has announced the death of actor and Associate Director Zamile Gantana on July 15, 2020, due to COVID-19.

Born in 1973 in Kimberley, South Africa, Gantana moved to Cape Town to study music and opera at the University of Cape Town. As a founding member of the Isango Theatre Ensemble, Gantana toured internationally in addition to prior performances in the UK, America, Australia, France, and Norway.

In 2017, he was a judge and later conductor of the Hout Bay Ingoma Choir after being introduced to Tanya Blacher, who helped found the choir.

“We are absolutely devastated to lose Zamile. He was a larger than life character and a great mentor and inspiration to the choir members,” Blacher stated. “He had an amazing stage presence and passed on to them his love of performance, as well as emphasizing the importance of hard work and discipline. He was also a lot of fun, and became a good friend of mine personally.”

On July 21, Gantana was laid to rest in his birth city, with an online ceremony held for his loved ones. He is survived by his partner Tshego, along with several siblings and many nieces and nephews.