Music veteran makes a difference in community

2017-08-30 06:00
< Some of Sizwe Zako’s students are, from left, Lenin Zako, Prosper Ojoni, Luxolo Mjuleni, Mihlali Mpofu and Malibongwe Cukula. Seated, Sizwe Zako. Photo:Thandi Setokoe

< Some of Sizwe Zako’s students are, from left, Lenin Zako, Prosper Ojoni, Luxolo Mjuleni, Mihlali Mpofu and Malibongwe Cukula. Seated, Sizwe Zako. Photo:Thandi Setokoe

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NEW Brighton-born music veteran Sizwe Zako is ploughing back into the community by offering lessons in different musical instruments to disadvantaged youth in the area.

Known as a household name throughout the Southern African region and awarded a lifetime achievement award at the MTN South African Music Awards (SAMAs) in 2013, the gospel music producer has worked as a keyboard player, composer and producer for the likes of the late Vuyo Mokoena, Rebecca Malope, Ebony, Pastor Khaya Mayedwa and many more.

Speaking to Express he narrated a story of a young lady who, while jogging past the beach one morning, came across abalones on the beach.

“She became worried because it was a very hot day and was concerned that the abalones would die due to the heat. So, one by one she started throwing them back into the sea.

“Asked by a friend why she was bothering (with what she considered to be a fruitless exercise), as there were too many of them, she replied, “the few that I have thrown back into the sea will be saved,” he concluded.

Zako said the story really touched him.

“It brought me to the realisation that there are many people in need, but the few that I can reach out to, I will be able to help and make a difference in their lives.”

The singer, who is credited with lifting gospel music’s profile in South Africa, is now hoping to pave the way for aspiring music artists.

“By opening my doors I am hoping to give children from disadvantaged backgrounds a chance of fulfilling their dreams. In as much as there is loads of talent in the Eastern Cape, most of the youngsters cannot afford to go all the way to Johannesburg in order break into the music industry.”

Currently he is working with 20 aspiring artists.

“We meet up every Monday and Wednesday and I am hoping that as time goes by young girls will also be encouraged to come as well because at the moment it’s only boys.”

One of the students, Luxolo Mjuleni, said it was an honour and privilege to be able to work with a man of such calibre.

“Opportunities such as this one are hard to come by.

“I will surely share all that I have learnt with other aspiring artists in the years to come,” Mjuleni said.

Another student, Malibongwe Cukula, who is an aspiring musician, said, “I cannot wait to release my own album.” Zako said he is now in talks with the Nelson Mandela University in the hope of getting their support.

“I have written to them asking for assistance in mentorship.

“If they can at least send one or two music teachers from the institution even if it’s once a week to come and tutor them, it would be greatly appreciated.

“These children really need a lot of help.”

Known for having one of the best local recording studios, he also produces for local church choirs, “We have also started a children’s choir here in Nikiwe Street.

“I am a very spiritual person and it has always been my wish to give back to my community.”

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