18/07/2017 12:25 SAST | Updated 18/07/2017 12:25 SAST

President Orders Half-Mast SA Flag For Ray Phiri's Funeral

US musician and Phiri's friend, Paul Simon might also attend the send-off.


President Jacob Zuma has ordered that the South African flag be flown at half-mast on Saturday, July 22, while the funeral of world-renowned musician, Ray Phiri, takes place at the Mbombela Stadium.

The 70-year-old will laid to rest at the Heroes' Acre in Mbombela.

In a statement issued by the presidency on Tuesday, Zuma extended condolences to Phiri's family, relatives, friends and music industry for the loss.

"Phiri was an internationally-acclaimed music legend who contributed immensely to the advancement of creative arts in South Africa. He was also honoured with the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver for his sterling contribution to the South African music industry and the successful use of arts as an instrument of social transformation," the statement read.

Family spokesperson and best friend to Phiri, Paul Nkanyane, said the family was in communication with Phiri's friends from across the world who have indicated their intentions to attend his send-off.

"Paul Simon is one of those who spoke to us as a family and also indicated that he would like to attend. We await confirmation from him in that regard," Nkanyane told HuffPost SA.

Asked whether Phiri's memorial service would be a musical send-off, Nkanyane said: "A great part of the service will be musical, but it won't be like a festival because this is a time where people must say their goodbyes. All people from politicians, churches and the arts will have a chance to bid the star farewell. With the government on board, this will be a fitting ceremony to send off a giant like Phiri," Nkanyane said.

The memorial service will also be held at the Mbombela Stadium on Thursday from 10am while the funeral service will start at 8am.

Phiri died at the Nelspruit Mediclinic on July 12 following a battle with lung cancer.