WATCH: SA jazz musician plays guitar during rare awake brain surgery

Renowned South African jazz musician Musa Manzini is in high spirits and will be spending Christmas with his loved ones at home after undergoing rare surgery to his head, while he was awake - during which he played his guitar.

Speaking to News24 from his hospital bed on Thursday evening, Manzini said he was recovering well following the six-hour operation to remove a recurring tumour from his brain.

- Health24: Brain tumours

A team of specialist neurosurgeons conducted the craniotomy - making a hole in the skull - at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital in Durban last week. The procedure entailed the neurosurgical operation of removing the tumour.

"They put me to sleep and then drilled my skull open"


"They put me to sleep and then drilled my skull open. Once my brain was exposed, I woke up and played my guitar," Manzini explained to News24.

"Playing music requires concentration so I was just wishing that I wasn't under any anaesthetic."

The multi-instrumentalist said that Dr Basil Enicker, who led the operation team, preferred to conduct the rare awake surgery to help doctors monitor his finger movements.

"There was a big risk of the left part of my body being paralysed," said Manzini about the operation.

Dr Rohen Harrichandparsad, who assisted Enicker, explained that the operation performed on Manzini was a technique used during a surgery for sensitive parts of the brain, The Mercury reported.

"Eloquent brain is a part of the brain tissue that performs an important function and if removed, results in paralysis or sensory or speech problems," he told the newspaper.

"The most important thing is ... to appreciate life"


Manzini, who spent some time living in Indonesia and now lectures at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, said he suddenly felt the left side of his body going numb. "It was like I was going to have a stroke."

Doctors performed a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan, which uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of the inside of the body.

It was then discovered that the tumour, which first presented itself in 2006 and then again in 2008, recurred in May this year.

Manzini said his wife was happy that he was alive, adding: "The most important thing is to look forward to life and to appreciate life."

He is also eager to continue making music.

"I am looking forward to getting back into the studio and recording another album. I have a lot of material that I have written and that I still need to record."

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