“We have lost a remarkable musician and teacher who contributed immensely to the music sector and selflessly imparted his musical knowledge and skills to aspirant musicians, especially children from poor backgrounds,” Zuma said in a statement on Tuesday.
Mekoa established the Gauteng Music Academy in 1994, which focused on teaching jazz music to local communities and the youth.
In 2015, Zuma conferred him with the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver, an award for South African citizens who have excelled in arts, culture, literature, music, journalism and sport.
“May his legacy be an inspiration to others to be selfless teachers in different fields, in order to build a better and prosperous South Africa. We wish to convey our sincere condolences to the Mekoa family and the music industry at large. May his soul rest in peace,” Zuma said.
Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa described Mekoa as one of the country’s most talented musicians.
“We are shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of the trumpet player and head of the Gauteng Music Academy, Johnny Mekoa. The nation has lost one of its most talented and selfless musical sons,” said Mthethwa.
“Over the years, Mekoa did so much to provide musical skills to talented youth and pursued this calling to teach and impart knowledge with both passion and perseverance. His own contribution to South African music has been immense. From optical dispenser to heading a music academy, he certainly had the vision to look ahead and address the needs of new times.”
With additional reporting by News24 Wire