South Africa

Hugh Masekela is definitely a person I’d think of if some in Hungary asked me – ” so tell me all about it” – his jazz sound is really very unique – it tells a lot about all the travels he’s done but also about his South African roots.

While I was browsing and actually hardly found anything real Masekela related info – I finally came accross this 2002 interview by Banning Eyre – it’s quite a long one – it will give you a good idea about the life work of this SA jazz maestro:

B.E.: …. let’s talk about your side. You weren’t able to go to South Africa for how long?

Hugh:Thirty years.

B.E.: So what’s it like to live there again now?

Hugh: Well, for me it’s a real bonanza because I never thought I’d be able to go back home, and I’ve been back twelve years. And in twelve years, I’ve been able to get to the point where like this album Time is on Chissa Records, which is our own label. I think that, except for like the young musicians who are into like what is called kwaito–South African hip-hop or whatever you call it–they are the first people to do their own productions. It the same way it happened when reggae started in Jamaica or when samba became a craze in Brazil. We’re just getting into a stage where we’re building the first steps towards creating our own industry, and our own manufacturing, wholesaling and marketing, and hopefully our own distribution. And our own broadcasting. But that’s going to take time because we are trying to access a business that was previously white owned. With Chissa, we’re trying to set up something that is modeled on Motown, where there’s collaboration instead of divided artists. We all try to bring like excellence out of each other. (read on…)


When I arrived in South Africa in 1997 – I started my new African adventures with brewing African beer in a factory next to Hammanskraal (North of Pretoria).

The beer we were selling was named Bafana Bafana – name of the South African national football team. Those were interesting times – tipsy times I’d say – since the factory workers for some reason were mostly in a happyyy mood – they were dancing around all day – I wonder why 🙂

This song is by Yvonne Chaka Chaka – one of the greatest singers in SA.

When asked who she admired most, Chaka Chaka said “My mother because she has always been there for me. My mother raised three daughters single-handedly on a domestic workers salary. That took great courage and strength. She is my mentor and hero. When I was born in 1965 in Soweto, it was during apartheid, and those were extremely difficult times. My dad was a great musician who could never realize his dream. He died when I was 11 years old. I inherited my talent from both parents, so music has always been in my blood .When I was little I would strum an empty tin and blow into a broom stick pretending it was a microphone. I sang in church choirs. I loved singing. I am blessed that I achieved my destiny, and been able to accomplish what my father could not.” (Wikipedia)

Yvonne Chaka Chaka : Umqombothi

We MaDlamini
Uph’umqombothi (3x)

I work hard every day
To make my beer
Wake up early every morning
To please my people with African beer
I make sure the fire burns
To make my beer
My special beer Umqombothi
Is African beer

We MaDlamini (Everybody)
Uph’umqombothi (Come and drink my)
We MaDlamini (magic beer)

I work hard to make them happy
Every weekend (Umqombothi)
Makes them party to the rhythm
Makes them dance, this magic beer (Umqobothi)
I wanna make you happy (Umqobothi)
I wanna make you smile (Umqobothi)
I wanna make you dance (Umqobothi), dance
I’ll make sure there’s a party
Where they drink my special beer
Umqombothi is magic beer
Umqombothi is African beer

Chorus 3x
We MaDlamini (Everybody)
Uph’umqombothi (nawu)
We MaDlamini Uph’umqombothi (nawu madoda)

Wozani ka MaDlamini
Wozani ngithi wozani
Wozani ka MaDlamini
Come on I wanna make you happy
I wanna make you smile lets boogie together
Umqombothi (Umqombothi)

I work hard every day
To please my people with African beer
( lyrics from )

I haven’t been posting for a while and one of the reasons is that winter has arrived.

African winters can be cold – just like in Tunis – the winters are chilly – since there is no central heating like in Hungary – so if you are cold – all you can do is – jump up and run a few laps :). So instead of typing away and I spent some time staring into our fireplace while trying to warm up a bit.

OpenCafe fire

… which is really relaxing and if you stare long enough – you might even find that you forget all about the issues of the day … and if by any chance you have some smooth jazz on like this one called ‘African Herbs’ by SA jazz master, Abdullah Ibrahim …..

… then automatically you will be transported to a whole different world – just like you were on a holiday in the … Bahamas …. untilll…

…there is the phone again – and you are rudely taken back to the hard working side of things…

Peet is a photographer / scientist from Potchefstroom. See some of his science animations here.

Amazing photos – great way to get to know African wildlife.

Visit Peet’s Flickr profile for more.

PeetVS photos

Alex to Randburg by taxiSince at the moment I have very little time to travel around South Africa – I try to learn a lot from the photos and videos I find on the NET.

I have found a series of photos in Lebogang’s Flickr collection about a journey I’d like to take myself – from Alex to Randburg by taxi.

About Alexandra from the Wikipedia:

Alexandra (sometimes nicknamed “Alex”) is a township located in Gauteng province, South Africa. It is situated on the outskirts of Johannesburg, close to the wealthy suburb of Sandton and is bounded by Wynberg on the west, Marlboro and Kelvin on the north, and Kew, Lombardy West and Lombardy East on the south. In contrast, Alexandra is one of the poorest urban areas in the country.

Alexandra is situated on the banks of the Jukskei River. The township covers an area of more than 8 km² and has an estimated population of 470,000 people. In addition to its original, reasonably well-built houses, it also has a large number (estimated at more than 20,000) of informal dwellings or “shacks”.

Randburg – from the Wikipedia:

Randburg is a large town in Gauteng, South Africa. Once a separate municipality, its municipal government has since become a part of the City of Johannesburg.

Randburg’s resident demographic tends to be more affluent than most Johannesburg dwellers. Randburg is well known for its plethora of shopping centres and entertainment areas, including the Brightwater Commons, Cresta Centre, NorthGate, Sanlam Shopping Centre and various others.

Randburg contains more than 32 suburbs, most of them residential. These include Darrenwood, Linden, Cresta, Aldara Park, Olivedale and others.

Click here to take the journey.

I have been browsing around on Rouvanne’s blog – and a came across one more time the post with “the David Kramer video” – it is without a doubt a masterpiece – so I thought it had to be part of this blog.

I did mention David Kramer before and his documentary called Karoo Kitaar Blues. He is one of those artists that I could listen to day and night – a story teller – his lyrics, music and theater productions are like a long neverending story about the lives of South Africans – and he tells it in an unbelievably simple humble way.

Here is Onnerwater by iaminawe – interesting enough – the sounds of this song resembles Hungarian folk music very much – another proof that no matter where we are from – we are more alike than different, ne?

Other songs:

One day Netanya arrived with “the Freshlyground cd” and she told me – “I am convinced that you will like this one.” She was right.

Freshlyground has unbelievable lyrics and amazing compositions – rich with African atmosphere – from Southern African styles to music from other parts of the continent, violin solos, flute, mbira music and more … They have become so popular so quickly that they need no introduction here – so this post is especially for those poor souls without Freshlyground access 🙂

Here is what their Youtube page says :

Afro-fusion sounds, multilingual lyrics, post-apartheid multiracial South African music heroes… Freshlyground are a band of diverse African musicians based in Cape Town. Born in a bar in Observatory, Cape Town, the guys have stuck to their roots. Their various roots, that is. And that’s saying something in a band of 7.

Here is Doo Be Doo – which everyone knows here in SA – but I am not sure everyone understood what the lyrics is about :

And I’d like :

And if you liked the above – then meet the band :

Other songs:

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