The nation joins Thinadhoo City in mourning the loss of one of its most beloved and revered daughters, Mariyam Didi, known popularly as Mariyam Dha’tha, who passed away on Sunday evening at the age of 73. The news of her death was confirmed by Thinadhoo Council’s president, Saud Ali, who described her passing as “a great loss to Thinadhoo.”

Mariyam, a figure of enduring cultural significance, was born blind but never allowed her condition to dim the luminosity of her spirit or talent. Her journey to nationwide acclaim began with the hit song “Fenmeeru Reethi Rashey Mee, Roohuvany Thinadhoogaey,” a melodious tribute that eloquently encapsulated the natural beauty and spirit of her native Thinadhoo.

Born with an undeniable gift for music, Mariyam later lent her voice to a series of works by the esteemed poet Abdulla Afeef, adding a magical touch to his poetic lyrics. Her artistry not only earned her fame but also the National Award for Public Service in 1982 — a testament to the transformative power of her craft and the profound impact she had on her community and beyond.

Despite her fame, Mariyam remained an ever-present figure in her local community. Saud Ali mentioned that he saw her at the island’s harbour just on Sunday, mingling with residents as she had done throughout her life. “Though she may not be a rich heiress,” Saud Ali observed, “she held the respect and love of the entire nation.”

Mariyam was more than just a vocalist; she was an emblem of resilience, a testament to the enduring human spirit, and a beacon of cultural pride for Thinadhoo and the Maldives at large. Her melodies may have been silenced, but the echo of her contributions will resound in the annals of the nation’s history.

She is survived by a daughter, who will find solace in the indelible mark her mother has left on the hearts and souls of an entire nation.

As Thinadhoo and the rest of the Maldives remember and honour Mariyam Didi, her legacy will surely continue to inspire future generations to find their own voice, however humble, and to use it in service of community and country. Mariyam Dha’tha may have left us, but her songs and spirit will eternally be a part of the rich Maldivian cultural tapestry.