Black Moses delivers Soul Brothers in ‘Canaan’

06 Jan, 2023 - 00:01 0 Views
Black Moses delivers Soul Brothers in ‘Canaan’ Soul Brothers performing at the Large City Hall


Langalakhe Mabena
The date is 22 December 2022 and the Large City Hall is filled to the brim.
Attendees are mature, with the average being those born between the late 60s and the 80s, the crowd is not the usual millennials who grace most of the shows in Bulawayo.

The occasion is to witness South Africa’s legendary Mbaqanga group Soul Brothers, who last performed in the city about six years ago.

A few from Generation Z, also known as 2000s, just like this reporter, are also in attendance, to have a glimpse of what really attracted the yesteryear folks to the Afro-Soul group which was founded in 1975.

The mood is mellow and the music hits a deep chord that connects the performers and the audience in a warm bond that soothes the mind.

Reggae legend Buju Banton summed up the mood in his monster hit Move yo body when he paraphrased another reggae icon Bob Marley saying: “When Music hits, you feel no pain, stabilise your body and tranquillise your mind…”

Soul Brothers performing at the Large City Hall

There is none of the intense high-energy, seemingly uncoordinated individual jumping up and down that characterises musical shows of this generation.

The nostalgic crowd is just one big family swaying to music that moves their collective soul.

Founded by five members during the apartheid era in Mzansi, all the originators of Soul Brothers have since fallen, with the current troop being led by the one and only “Black” Moses Ngwenya.

The veteran pianist who was conferred with a degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Honoris Causa) by the University of South Africa in 2020, has a mandate of fulfilling the Soul Brother’s vision since conception, that of restoring the legacy of the group and pass the baton to the next generation.

If their six-hour performance at the Large City Hall is anything to go by, one can say Black Moses has done a stellar job of delivering the young and vibrant crop of Soul Brothers to the promised land.

It’s not even about Soul Brothers alone, Black Moses is the only living veteran who has the key and knowledge of preserving the Mbaqanga genre as a whole.

He has ensured all that by maintaining and taking care of their offspring; Mbaqanga groups Impumelelo, Imitshotshovu, Oguluva, Young Brothers, Soul Brothers Brass Band.

Dr Moses Ngwenya

To solidify Amasololo, Ngwenya conscripted some of the young talents – Thokozani Rhadebe, Thami Khulu and the late David Masondo’s son Spha – from the above-mentioned groups into the Soul Brothers.

Rhadebe took over the lead singer role from David Masondo in 2015 while Spha and Thami were recruited to ensure that none of the beautifully presented choreography of the Soul Brothers disappears.

On the sidelines of the show, Ngwenya said: “We lost our brothers Zenzele Mchunu, Tuza Mthethwa and American Zulu in the 80s and after that, we soldiered on with Masondo and maintained the group’s status.

“Unfortunately, Masondo followed our late brothers in 2015 and this became a blow to the group as I was left alone. Losing all my brothers shuttered me and I couldn’t move on.

“However, I managed to pick myself up because I couldn’t let our legacy perish just like that.

Abafowethu trusted me with the knowledge that I have to pass on to the new age and this is what I have been doing with these young lads on the group,” said the 64-year-old mentor.

The sated crowd said they were privileged to have a feel of Soul Brothers’ latest ten track album titled Iqiniso (truth) and one can say that the sounds of Mbaqanga are in safe hands.

The gig was characterised with nostalgic moments that evoked joy as well as creating a somber atmosphere when the Soul Brothers performed songs such as Kuyadabukisa, Ifu Elimnyama, Asisaphelele, to mention a few, in remembrance of the fallen members of the group.

“As we stand here today, you will discover that Asisaphelele. We have lost our brothers over the years.

Every time we perform, we always dedicate a moment to perform songs that reminds us of them.

“We will take this time to sing and remember the good times and music we created together, at the same time we will also like you (fans) to remember your fallen relatives. Thank you for your unmatched support,” said Ngwenya to sustained applause.

After their stellar performance in Bulawayo, the Mbaqanga Kings proceeded to Maphisa where they performed on Christmas Day.

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