Department of Arts and Culture Promotes Phuzushukela Memorial Maskandi Festival

The Research Council of Zimbabwe continually organizes symposia in order to promote research

August 10th, 2016
Maurycy Barański, CD News

Born at Nkandla in Southern Zululand on March 24, 1930, Bhengu popularly known as Phuzushukela was the first South African rural recording artist to come to prominence.

By the late 1940s, the legendary Maskandi Music icon had already achieved a measure of local fame in street music competitions through his integration of traditional songs with a guitar. The technique and originality was soon employed in the izihlabo - the introductory instrumental flourish, and the rendering of the ukubonga, the declamatory centrepiece which might praise family, clan, chief and fame.

His vision in the genre had a vast influence on many household names like, Mgqashiyondlovu, Jonny Clegg, Busi Mhlongo, Bhekumuziluthuli, Phuzekhemisi, Bhodlozanzimande, Inganezoma, Shwinomtekhala, to name but a few. As we celebrate 22 years of democracy, it is impossible to ignore that under the influence of these artists, the size and stature of Maskandi music in the South African music landscape became what it is today. Maskandi musicians have always and currently still enjoy an iconic status in the South African music industry.

Over the years, Maskandi Music became a platform through which South Africans and migrants shared their feelings of exploitation during South Africa’s unjust political history of segregation and grievances of the then working conditions. While Maskandi music is an art-form, its significance in society is beyond music and it’s undoubtedly part of South African popular culture. Maskandi music has over the years inspired a lot of people to take stock of their right and fight against the regime over the years and continues to inspire. Undoubtedly, Maskandi music is a part of South African popular culture.


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