Kenny was a man

2018-07-12 06:00

In the song “Good Black Woman”, the late Brenda Fassie wailed: “Early on Monday morning, police arrest my brother, for working for a black community, Monday afternoon, went to see my brother, police man treated me, like a donkey, I say to police man, you’ve got a bad attitude, oh no …”

By all intents and purposes, Mabbbr had dedicated this song to her brother, Kenny “Majozi” Fassie.

At the time, Majozi was in faraway lands, in exile. He passed on last week.

It a sad and mournful song that captures the pain of most families whose sons and daughters left without saying their goodbyes, never to be seen again.

And for those who did return, they came back to families traumatised by constant raids and harassment from the security police.

Those who did come back after many years of being in the trenches, in the jungles of far away lands, who had seen battle and death, were never the same.

So it was with Majozi, a brilliant student of Langa High School, a debonair of note, popular with the opposite sex, who a throaty laughter and a hoarse timbre to his voice. These attributes one could not miss when one came into contact with him. The sharpness of thought and unbridled intellect came to the fore forcefully during Umbumbumbu, as the student uprising became known in Cape Town in 1976. Majozi was articulate, a quiet strategist and a leader who led from the front.

He managed to evade the police on so many occasions and one of his legendary escapades – at the height of the police hunts – was when he was stopped by the police in Washington Avenue; the police, looking at his small physique, ask him of the whereabouts of Kenny Fassie.

Majozi replied that he knew there was a Kenny in Makana Street but was not sure of the address. Cool as a cucumber!

He remained calm and watched them stop another group of students a few metres away, who duly pointed him out. Majozi immediately vanished into thin air.

His subsequent arrest in Gugulethu, at his sister-in-law’s place, was beautifully captured by his nephew Skhumbuzo Fassie: “Whenever I see him, I am reminded of the day apha endlini when amapolisa neevantyi surrounded indlu e NY4 and they got him and ubra Shuta. They had him by the scruff of the neck and he was walking on his toes like a ballerina dancer. How they knew he was there, only grannie said it better: “Die duiwel weet alleen”. That was the last I saw of him as a kid until his return from exile.”

A talented singer, pianist and percussionist, Kenny was the ninth of eleven children of Makokovu Sarah and Mangaliso Matthew Fassie. He was buried on Saturday. Lala ngoxolo Mthembu.

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