The African National Congress (ANC) sent condolences to Ray Phiri's family and the music industry on the loss of the musical legend on Wednesday.
In a media statement, the party's spokesperson, Zizi Kodwa, said Phiri played a role in unearthing and support new talent in the industry.
"He has been an ardent and vocal advocate of the call for greater investment in local content development and the development of the industry as a whole. An immensely gifted composer, vocalist and guitarist, he breathed consciousness and agitated thoughts of freedom through his music. Through Whispers in the Deep, amongst his many works, Phiri, his band Stimela and his friends, Nana Coyote, amongst others, taught us to forever remain inspired and never understand hate. They spoke of knowledge and pain, necessary preconditions to develop a single nation of love, formed from us," Kodwa said.
He added: "Phiri was also a global ambassador of the hopes of a new South Africa and a committed activist to our nation's vision of fundamental change. For his efforts, he was awarded the Presidential Order of Ikhamanga by President Jacob Zuma for his "successful use of the arts as an instrument of social transformation. While Phiri may be gone, his music lives on."
Kokwa said, "His life's work forever remain an inspiration to generations of artists who would emulate his example of using the arts to effect change and inspire hope amongst his people."
"We have no doubt that as we commit ourselves to realise his life's dream of a transformed industry we will forever hear his unmistakable voice urging us on 'khawuphinde, khawuphinde mzala'," Kodwa said.