Saturday 10 October 2009

South African Musical Time

King Kong may be among the most well known South African musical theatre pieces, but it is not the only one. Here at EJ we are happy to admit a limited knowledge of this phenomenon – but that does not mean we cannot share a few of these rarities with you.

Over the next while we will share three we have lined up – Busang Meropa (1989); Phiri (1972) and Mr Paljas (1962).

Busang Meropa (Bring back the Drums) is a South African play written and directed by Maishe Maponya, and was first produced at the Birmingham Repertory in 1989. A number of Maponye’s plays fell foul of the apartheid authorities. Maponya founded the Bahumutsi ("Confronters") Drama Group in 1976 "to reflect in drama the struggle of the people of South Africa". This group was mostly based at the Moravian church hall in Diepkloof, Soweto, but did undertake a number of European Tours in the 1980s.

Sounds from Bahumutsi is an offshoot of the Bahumutsi Drama Group.
Lyrics and Poems by Maishe Maponya - this recording uses six different South African languages:
Performed by:
Moses Ngwenya (bass)
Fuya Nofuya (guitar)
Zenzi Mbuli (drums)
Maile Maponya (piano, flute, voice)
Backing vocals: Nomthemba Mdini; Nomvuyo Mahabehlala; Aubrey 'Ops' Matonyane'; Sydwell Yola; Dan Tlouana; Maishe Maponye; Zenzi Mbuli.
Recording Engineer: Graham Handley
Recorded in South Africa and mixed at The Point, London.

1. Izwe Lolhleko
2. Iyeza Inkululeko
3. Jo'Burg City - Recited by Nomathemba
4. Little Girl of Eight - Recited by Nomvuyo
5. So Many Questions - Recited by Maishe
6. Ugly Brown Canvas Uniform - Recited by Maishe
7. Busang Meropa
8. Helelelele - Recited by Aubrey
9. To the Comrades (Questions)
10. Manano Wee!
11. Mister Gunslinger - Recited by Maishe
12. Hoyina Hoyina - Recited by Sydwell


  1. I just don't know what to say. It is inconceivable that, after wandering so parched, this music just rains down from the generosity of clouds. That you and your blog bretheren and sistren are keeping the lifeblood of this music pumping so robustly is a gift to the artists, to the audiences, to the world of ears. It is my great joy to capture these treasures here and magnify the impact of your offerings via worldwide radio.

    The only thing left to say is thank you.

  2. Thank you for the kind and encouraging words - if you have not heard "Phiri", you are in for a treat - please do give more info on the radio broadcasts you mention.

  3. You've a GREAT black music,

    I to listen Masekela - GIVE IT UP - and waiting for the "jazz ministers".


  4. thank you so much for sharing this. you made my day <3


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