Monday, April 9, 2012


“I’m not one to judge other genres of music. Everybody must be given the space to do their thing. I don’t expect you to sing to Zabalaza at 4am at a party” – said Thandiswa Mazwai to an audience member when asked her thoughts about the current state of Kwaito.

My admiration for Thandiswa grew at that very moment. She clearly has no higher than thou attitude about her music. I believe more people need to learn that kind of attitude. You may like your music, books, movies or whatever but don’t raise your nose at people with a different taste to yours. Do you and let others do themselves.

This type of intimate session was the first of many hosted by Thandiswa’s younger sister Ntsiki Mazwai. Called Mama Said Sessions, they are hosted every last Sunday of the month at Roodepoort Theatre, West of Johannesburg. The sessions include dialogue with established artists, poetry, a live band and open mic.
Ntsiki invited her sister and the legendary Dorothy Masuku. What an amazing woman. Mam’ Dorothy told us her musical journey and whilst talking she’d break into song. She shared how all her songs and the music of her time had a story behind them. Whether it was hearing a drunken man singing about his troubles in the shebeen or her telling her aunt she loves her dodgy boyfriend, “Every song had a story,” she said.

She looked at Thandiswa with so much affection and adoration. “This one is our baby,” she said looking at Thandiswa. And it only makes sense because Thandiswa is a child of the Sophia Town era and was able to join in when Mam' Dorathy sang any of her songs.

I particularly loved hearing Thandiswa’s story because I feel she is the most underrated, misunderstood musician of our time. I grew up on her music. She is to me what Mam' Dorothy is to her; since her days with Bongo Maffin until she went solo. Thandiswa gives me goose bumps when she is on stage – she is a force of nature. Now here she was at arms reach telling her story.

After the session with Thandiswa and Mam' Dorothy; we were entertained by poets, a comedian, rappers and the live band. It was an amazing way to end a Sunday.  


  1. I like your coverage of some of the champions of the writing cause, which, evidently you are passionate about. If we could have such champions passionately blazing the scene for the written word and its transformation to performed poetry where I'm from, then this neglected science will not die away. Thank you for the coverage, keep writing, and inspiring beyond borders.

  2. Thank you Ernest. Highly appreciated.

    1. Much appreciated, lets keep the conversation going on