Thandi Klaasen, the daughter of a shoemaker and a domestic worker, grew up in the historical Sophiatown. She earned respect as a singer and dancer in various churches around Sophiatown. Her musical career started in the mid-1950s when she used to perform for ten shillings. She then started performing with groups such as the Gaieties and the Harlem Swingsters, but her career took off when she performed with Dolly Rathebe, Miriam Makeba, Dorothy Masuku and Sophie Mgcina.
Thandi’s songs range in style from brass to Mbaqanga. She has shared the stage with the likes of Roberta Flack and Patti Labelle. In 1976 she received the count Pushkin award for best female vocalist. Thandi Klaasen died on 15 January 2017 at the age of 86.