Wednesday 3 August 2011

Deep funk on Deep South: Joshua Sithole's Africa

Joshua Sithole: Joshua Sithole's Africa (Deep South DSML 003, 1975)

Despite a long professional career that began in 1959 with his brother Robert in the Kwela Kids, Cape Town guitarist Joshua Sithole seems to have left a relatively modest ripple in the discographic waters. His death in 1999 brought testimony of his ubiquity and hard work on the club circuit, and a trickle of fond memories concerning his long-running residency at the Heidelberg Tavern can be found on the web (some recordings, perhaps suggesting the flavour of crowd expectations at the Heidelberg, can be found here). The proceedings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, in the case of an amnesty hearing for APLA cadre Luyanda Gqomfa, indicate Sithole was playing the Heidelberg gig on the 30th December 1993 when Mr Gqomfa and others attacked the pub with AK47s, R4s and grenades, on grounds of it being a known Security Forces hang-out.

Our friends at Soul-Safari posted a superb Joshua S-penned late 60s Kwela Kids side a few weeks back (here), and today we share a rare full length LP, Joshua Sithole’s Africa, the back cover of which rather confusingly pictures him playing soprano. Needless to say, it is rather heavier fare than covers of 'Wonderful Tonight' and 'Groovy Kind of Love'.



  1. sounds very interesting (again!) Thanks so much. love the info around the artists too.

  2. is Basil Coetzee playing sax here?

  3. Gregory - I don't think so, this is all soprano and doesn't sound as nearly as accomplished as coetzee in my view. The back cover seems to show Sithole playing a soprano – guitar was his main instrument – so it is possible that he is playing the sax himself, as well as guitar. There is no line-up given on the record.

  4. Thanks a lot for the post! Apparently, it's the only album that Sithole ever cut with this band.

    You can learn more about him from a book called Working in South Africa (Ravan Press, 1985).


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