At home with Thomas Chauke

By Drum Digital
25 May 2013

He’s a South African legend who’s been thrilling Mzansi and beyond for three decades. After his recent SAMA lifetime achievement award DRUM visited Thomas Chauke at home.

HE’S still excited at the memory of a University of Venda hall packed with students in their graduation regalia.

Sitting very close to him that day was Deputy President Kgalema  Motlanthe, who is also the university’s chancellor. He was so starstruck by Motlanthe that he felt goose bumps all over his body.

“I even shook his hand!” he says gleefully.

But that day in 2010 wasn’t just special because he shook hands with the deputy president. That was the day when Thomas Hasani “Shinyori” Chauke (61) – a primary school dropout – was granted an honourary doctorate in African languages for the role his music has played in the development of the Xitsonga language.

Yet it wasn’t the last of this musical legend’s great achievements because on 11 May he received a lifetime achievement award at the 19th South African Music Awards (SAMA) ceremony. Nor is this special award his first from the SAMAs.

The doctor has been scooping their awards on a regular basis throughout his 30-year musical career, especially in the traditional album categories. Sixteen SAMA statuettes are scattered all over his home recording studio.

We’re suitably impressed by his royal award collection – SA Traditional Music Awards and all – but then we discover we haven’t even scratched the surface of his achievements.

Read more in DRUM - 30 May 2013

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