Bongs is coming in from the cold

2016-02-11 06:00
 Bongani Sotshononda doing his thing in Gugs.

Bongani Sotshononda doing his thing in Gugs.

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The Jazz in the Native Yards sessions started on a high note on Sunday when the jazzy Afro beats of Bongani Sotshononda’s United Nations moved the audience so much that they could not sit any more and moved their chairs aside for the dance floor.

I got to know Bongani in the 1980s at St Mary’s Catholic school in Nyanga. In 1985, President PW Botha declared the State of Emergency and the townships were on fire. Education came to a stand still. But we never stopped going to school. It was the safest place to be. St Mary’s became a central place where white liberals would drop off clothes, food and anything they no longer had use off for multitudes who were caught in the political factions. Our task as pupils was to bundle all these for distribution at squatter camps that dotting the Nyanga landscape. It’s in the mist of all these unpleasant times that the then school principal, Sister Kevin, an Irish nun ordered a set of marimbas for the school. Bongani was amongst the first group that were taught to play. Soon marimbas became part of the liturgy at Mass on a Friday once a month when classes started again after Crossroads burnings. Music became a healing process. Bongani hasnever looked back and now plays professionally with various ensembles. Sister Kevin should be proud, wherever she is!

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