Tribute to one who kept our spirits alive

2016-11-03 06:01
 Dizu Plaatjie,Blackie Mbizela, Dzwarey Qotoyi, Mandla Lande and the late Nkuleko Ludonga

Dizu Plaatjie,Blackie Mbizela, Dzwarey Qotoyi, Mandla Lande and the late Nkuleko Ludonga

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If you do not know amaMpondo,amajita, Nelson Mandela’s favourite South African group, Skomline, the group that introduced Marimba to the world, then you cannot claim to be South African.

The youngsters that were introduced to the sound by a Roman Catholic Father in their teens, youngsters who just wanted to run away from the boredom of a dreary township life, because “die ding, sisi yali”, young people who thought that uFather uyasilibazisa and turned out to be the group that introduced the authentic South African sound to the world. NgamaMampondo lawo.

The group that introduced and made the world aware of isound ye Marimba. Made us proud to be Africans and our contribution to the world.

Actually, they shook the world with their haunting melodies that captured the pain of forced removal from District Six, a sound that captured the pain with such respect that the legendary Hugh Masekela repeated in his clarion call on forced removals.

It is when those sounds constantly play isithukuthezi in one’s head, that makes one realise that Nkulululeko, the son of maMaduna, the acrobat, the singer, the deep bass marimba player, eintlek, the one with the smile ,is no more. No more to entertain tourists at Ace’s Place, no more to train up and coming marimba players, to continue the tradition, no more to cast that humble smile when complimented or covered the shy smile with his hand.

Mbotho as he was affectionately known, is no longer there to regale us with his stories of far away lands, the travels and tribulations of Madiba’s 70th anniversary. He is there no more to keep us spell-bound about amaMpondo’s escapades in bringing arms and banned literature to the country as “a cultural group”.

Nkuley, as he was also known eSkom, in Tel Aviv, Birmingham, New York, London, Paris, Munich and Tokyo. The list is endless. One cannot even begin to remember all the countries they have been to. This group has toured to many parts of the of the world, performed with may brilliant and outstanding artists in nearly every major festival in the world. Dizu Plaatjies would have a better memory of their journey than a mere fan like me.

As it comes to pass, no matter what an artist has done for their country, scant attention is paid to them in the twilight of their life and so it with Nkululeko. This tribute, paid in the knowledge that we all shall follow him. Hamba kahle mfowethu.

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