Gugs socialite ‘Gus’ laid to rest

2018-01-11 06:00
The sons of Bra Gus Ntlokwana carry his coffin to its last journey

The sons of Bra Gus Ntlokwana carry his coffin to its last journey

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Thembile Augustine “Bra Gus” Ntlokwana, a bass player whose music talent was also spotted by the “father of African Theatre” Gibson Kente died on Christmas day last year. He was 77.

Bra Gus was also the younger brother to the late great comedian and television actor Ray Ntlokwana.

Bra Gus was laid to rest at the NY 5 Memorial Cemetery in Gugulethu last Thursday next to his wife Sylvia Nontuthuzelo Ntlokwana.

Although “Bra Gus” was no longer an active musician, he will be remembered for his contribution to South African jazz.

At his funeral service held the Ikhwezi Community Hall last Thursday, he was hailed as a man of “all seasons”.

Political activist and jazz lover George Bongo said of him: “Bra Gus was a musician, politician and an entrepreneur,”

Bongo, who is also the chairman of Ikapa Jazz Movement, a jazz appreciation society, described Bra Gus as “a leader who worked tirelessly for the progress of jazz music.”

Bra Gus was also once a chairman of Ikapa Jazz Movement. He was also affiliated to the South African Jazz Appreciators Association (SAJAA).

According to the chairman of SAJAA, Mncedi Zulu, Bra Gus was one of the planters of the seed of this national body of jazz appreciators.

“When I first met Bra Gus 22 years ago, it was at Duma’s Falling Leaves Jazz Rendezvous,” says Zulu.

“At the time I was living in a flat in town and was looking for a place where I could hang out and listen to jazz ... By co-in cidence, I came across an article about Duma’s Jazz Rendezvous in the Cape Argus newspaper.

It was there that I found Bra Gus sitting and soon after I introduced myself, we chatted at great lengths about jazz and how we could interest other stakeholders to support live jazz music.

It was Bra Gus who said: “you must go back to Jozi and form an association and I tell you the guys in Cape Town will fall for anything as long it comes outside of their own city; this is how SAJAA was formed.”

Bra Gus owned and managed the Falling Leaves joint.

Bra Gus was a driving force in canvassing for the association to gain national foothold. Whenever Zulu is in Cape Town, Bra Gus’ jazz den is where tourists meet local jazz lovers, relaxing under the shadows in the beer garden, or down a beer while listening to cool jazz while having a braai.

Bra Gus’s musical life has its roots back in the 1950s and 1960s as an aspiring jazz bassist who performed a trio in popular venues such as the Normandy Restaurant with the Schilder brothers, Cups Nkawula, Aspro Spoyo, Dwayi Dlova, Bucs and other Cape Town jazz musicians.

At one stage he was a member of Skyf, a local jazz band that performed in the backyards of Gugulethu and in community halls.

His musical career took him further to Dorkay House in Johannesburg where he performed with greats such as Kippie Moeketsi and Earl Mabuza.

He was one of the musicians who starred in Gibson Kente’s musical Isikhalo alongside other legends such as Simon Mabunu Sabela and Ndaba Mhlongo.

According to Zulu, Bra Gus rather preferred the life of a family man than that of showbizz.

“Hey, he turned out to be a genuine jazz host. A great institution whose jazz knowledge surpassed that of most local jazz appreciators,” Zulu added.

Bra Gus had also worked as a bus driver. He also worked at Dunes Bakery and later Ellerines Furnishers as a salesman, accounts inspector and credit control manager.

Bra Gus may have fallen, but for tipplers, Duma’s Falling Leaves is still standing.

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