Last howl for Nana

2010-07-16 10:56

Musician Nana “Coyote” Motijane’s memorial service was a tangled attempt at capturing the kernel of a colourful life: humorous recollections, political speak and musical tributes struggled with each other to define a fitting requiem for the man.

Tears too were shed as friends, colleagues and family defined a proper sendoff.

Leading proceedings yesterday at the Bassline in Newtown, Johannesburg, radio personalities Bob Mabena and DJ S’bu Leope invited attendants to “not hold back” their urges to either sing out loud or dance.

“That’s how our departed brother lived – he partied hard,” Mabena said. He was seconded by Leope who had the hall in stitches with reminiscences of Coyote’s exploits.

Illuminated by Coyote’s projected portrait and a banner of the Creative Workers Union of South Africa (CWSA), lifelong friend and colleague Ray Phiri succumbed to tears as he recounted anecdotes from their past.

Phiri worked with Coyote as part of Stimela, the band made famous by songs like Whispers in the Deep.

He said: “I’m only human so please allow me to shed a tear for my friend even as we celebrate his work.”

The memorial was organised by CWSA, which lent a political edge to proceedings as Mabotho “Kid” Sithole, the union’s president, raised the gathered mass into chants with political rhetoric and song.

Before him, Mluleki Nkosi also endeavoured to locate Coyote as an activist from Sharpeville; where Nkosi is acting mayor.

As if to reclaim the mood from being tearful or party political, Louis Mhlanga led a quartet of musicians in a groovy knell for Coyote.

Among other musicians there to pay tribute were Ringo Madlingozi, who also performed. Jabu Sibumbe too was there, blowing a moving solo with a trumpet.

» Nana “Coyote” Motijane’s raspy voice was compared to that of a wild dog. That’s how he earned his nickname. He was born on August 17 1955 and died on July 5 2010 at Helen Joseph Hospital in Johannesburg from pneumonia.

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