Monday 3 December 2012

Baba "Themba" Mokoena - Themba (1976)

The Soweto uprisings of 1976 were a turning point in South Africa's history, leading to the ascendency of the African National Congress and PW Botha's political-military council as opponents in the battle that would wage through the country until the late 1980s. It was also an incredibly fertile year for jazz, as this album by Themba Mokoena illustrates. These were exciting times, as Abdullah Ibrahim and his wife Sathima Bea Benjamin had returned to record a seminal series of works including Mannenberg, Soweto, African Herbs and African Songbird. Rashid Vally was putting up studio time for jazz musicians such as Dick Khoza, Pops Mohammed, The Beaters, Pat Matshikiza, Tete Mbambisa, Kippie Moeketsi and others to lay down their inspirations. Other producers such as David Thekwane, Hamilton Nzimande and others were also not far behind mining the long grooves of bump-jive and piano led 15 minute jams echoing the single sided LP jazz grooves of Mannenberg etc.

But the optimism of the burgeoning jazz scene soon evaporated under the waves of repression and the evaporation of venues in which to practice and play. The commercial realities of venues that were regularly targetted by authorities for allowing mixed audiences and articulating a different vision of the future were tough.

As compiled on the Strut Next Stop Soweto Vol 3 - Giants, Ministers and Makers here is the complete album recorded under Themba Mokoena's first name. No surprises if the participants were the house band from the Pelican. 

Themba - Themba (Soweto SWA 14017)
1. Themba Themba
2. Ou Kaas
3. Fana Fana
4. Macs Secret



  1. Heads Up: The link given delivers the Lerato LP and not Themba.

    Thanks for one magnificent offering after another Matt and EJ crew!

  2. Can you provide also the link for Themba pülease ?

  3. All links updated. Apologies, I was stuck on a train between Norwich and Cambridge and no chance that a blackberry can sort this stuff out. Maybe you listened to the Lerato instead! (:-)) ENJOY!

  4. So well worth the wait, as I knew it would be. Thanks Matt!

  5. So good! "Ou Kaas" especially. Keep fighting the good fight. Dunno how else I would be able to familiarize myself with South African music from back in the day ... I've put you up on my sidebar.

    Thanks from Illinois.

  6. this is a true masterpiece ! thanks Matt !

  7. This is amazing! What a groove and funky at that. Pure gold! I'm big "soul jazz" fan and I would play this album right in there with my Young Holt Unlimited, Galt MacDermont, Cannonball Adderley... "Ou Kass" is unstoppable.

    Crazy respect, Matt!

  8. Sheer pleasure all the way - full of energy and joy. Thanks so much for this.

  9. Chiquilicuatre y ZappaSaturday, May 16, 2015

    please re-up

  10. A re-up would be awesome, especially after discovering the excellent track "Ou Kaas" from the Next Soweto comp serie!!

  11. Yes, please could you re-up it? Really want to hear the whole album

  12. Please can you upload this again. I'd love to hear the whole album. Ou Kass is magic.


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