From the archives: My heritage, my pride – Tsonga musician Thomas Chauke invites us into his home

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Thomas is keeping his music business in the family. His four wives Ethel, Joyce, Eve and Lucia – perform backing vocals on all his songs.
Thomas is keeping his music business in the family. His four wives Ethel, Joyce, Eve and Lucia – perform backing vocals on all his songs.
Lubabalo Lesolle/DRUM

It's a blazing hot morning and the village of Salema in Giyani, Limpopo, is vibrant with street markets and older model cars cruising along the main road. Hawkers selling locally grown avocados, tomatoes and oranges tap at car windows, enticing drivers to buy their wares.

Down a dusty side street just off the bustling thoroughfare is where you’ll find the village’s most famous citizen: veteran Tsonga singer Dr Thomas Chauke.

It isn’t hard to find his house: the double-storey, facebrick mansion he shares with his four wives, 20 children and 21 grandchildren rises like a pillar among the small houses and huts dotted along the rest of the street. Yet there are no high walls surrounding this place, just a wire fence with a wide-open gate and fans are welcome to pop in and greet the veteran singer any time they feel like it.  And this they do – because although he’s been in the business since 1978, Thomas remains as relevant as ever.

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