Often when I approach the bandstand, I see images. These images sometimes move, at times they speak and sometimes they are still.

An image I see frequently, is that of myself jumping from the highest mountain. As I jump it seems as though I’m simultaneously cognizant of the possibility of falling and perhaps hurting myself. At the same time, I feel also attracted to the idea of jumping regardless of the consequences.

In other moments, after jumping I float long enough to a point where I start thinking that I’m carried by a grace that is stronger than any gravitational fields. At the back of my mind I also feel that a glimpse of grace, a short lived moment floating and be-ing in the air is worth the probability of falling with all its implications.

This bandstand situation in improvisation has also taught me that navigation and walking these journeys is in itself is an accomplishment. As such I have learned that goals in a sense of reaching, finding and arriving to something are to a certain extent some type of illusions. I have learned to make my process matter, doing is my new fascination, just to be immersed in process itself is fulfilling.

In my dreams I float with the wind, through this body I improvisor, inside the song I divine but in the true essence of my spirit I fly.

Thoughts on improvisation

Nduduzo Makhathini


Unkown Places

Somewhere on planet earth, in some hidden lands still not known to man, not ‘discovered’ and not ‘colonized’, the tales and myths of a people had remained sacred. Throughout many years their secret knowledges were passed down from generation to the next through storytelling, the drum and song.

Until this one time, when at the middle of the night an unusual noise was heard. It sounded like screams of angry gods. Many said it came from what appeared to be a huge spacecraft floating above the sky. Some said they felt it from underneath their feet. While some said ‘it’s the end of the world!!!’

Caught in all the confusion, suddenly everyone fell on the ground as though pulled by some mysterious gravitational force. No one could rise as they felt weak at this point, for sometime they could not open their eyes and soon they all fell into a long and deep sleep.

After many years, the tribe eventually woke up and was confronted with a reality of their lost years. Though they remembered their dreams vividly, on the contrary they struggled to recall anything else that took place before their deep sleep. Memories of themselves, their past, languages and ancestors were all lost. Looking around they were drawn to the multiple layers of evidence of human existence, there saw traces of human history that surrounded them but could not draw an links with their awaken-ness.

Such an intense level of amnesia brought so many uncertainties to the people. To this day it is unknown what took place before and during their sleep, but they all remember entering a dream state. As they they related the story, they told us that, in their dreams they traveled at high speeds to far away places, not seen or even imagined before. Some said in their dreams, they spoke in unknown tongues and some remembered unusual flying beings that appeared to be in a continuous trance, a ritual dance. Others even claimed to have had ancestry, that they had left behind in their dreams unable to invite on this side.

The tribe wondered about who they were before, they knew that they had a history hidden from their awareness, a past that defined them. As advised by the elders, this moment saw the tribe collecting all musical instruments especially the drums of various kinds and sizes. The belief became that, even though most of their stories and songs had been wiped off their consciousness, the wise ones asserted that all could be remembered through sound and its intentions that remain in silence, somewhere in space. They said silence was the carrier of all memories. From an old bag, and they pulled out an ancient text.

In unison they read with such a depth, it resonated and echoed in the caves where their ancestors lived and practiced their rituals, it reached the heart of the village. After several hours of chanting, drumming and even clapping it all dissolved into silence and stillness. In silence, the people’s memory emerged, through revelations they remembered the stories of their gods and as they did, one after the other they followed the stars and their bodies disappeared to unknown places.



The River of the Great Serpent

In a dream, I met a stranger and after a long conversation about things of the spirit, I found myself asking ‘who are you and where do you live?’ She responded, ‘I live everywhere where I’m needed. I am a servant of the great ones that live under the waters, I live my life traveling between multiple planes passing their messages.’ I then said ‘I want to travel where you go and live where you live.’ She responded ‘you need to first awaken from your deep sleep.’

I immediately woke up, then I heard her voice echo from my dream ‘follow me, follow me, follow me.’ But this time she was invisible, I asked ‘but where are you and how do I follow the invisible?’ And she quickly responded ‘find me, I’m not far from the river where your spiritual lens will be put to awareness.’ I then ran as quickly as I could to the nearby river banks of The River of the Great Serpent.

As I came closer, a dark cloud emerged from the center. I heard the sound of a deep drum, it sounded as though it was filled with water inside. I could also hear human voices singing in strange harmonies, they seemed so faraway as if chanting the songs of a forgotten past.

Something else also took place, beings that had tails and some with horns on their foreheads appeared behind me. They too seemed as though they were searching for the same truths. Their eyes shined with great light.

I then saw a rainbow in unusual colors. It had two dominating colors, red and white. Its tail end connected to the dark cloud at the center of the river, while the other tail moved directly towards us. It also started to rain.

The beings that stood behind me were dancing to the sound of the drums, they moved around me and I felt their pulse encored on the ground. We all seemed to be wondering inside the rainbow, there was a great sense of blissfulness.

Lost in a stance-state, a voice spoke loudly and said ‘are you ready to travel to a world of your forefathers?’ At this point I had become weak, so I could not speak but in response I raised my hand and so did the other beings. I also noticed their bodies were now surrounded by a special kind of light, they seemed as though they were accompanied by shining stars on a winter night.

From this moment, the water opened and a black hole appeared. A strong force pulled us in and we traveled at such a high speed.

I fell into deep sleep, when I woke up I was dressed in a golden garment and I also had white beads around my wrists and legs. As I lifted up my head, I saw a huge serpent right across me, but for some reason I had to fear and our eyes connect with depth. The serpent began to speak, telling me about a secret world that I now belonged to. I was given a new name and a new song that I will chant to heal the wounded.

I again fell into deep sleep and woke up outside the riverbanks where a thanksgiving ceremony was held with healers of various types dancing and chanting around me. They too knew my song.


Nduduzo Makhathini 01.01.2020


In what appeared to be a flat deserted land, a place that seemed lifeless. I could not feel any trace or evidence of man having lived or walked on these lands.

As my spirit marveled at the emptiness and wideness of the desert, I soon began to see what appeared to be a motherlike figure. She came from an easterly direction. She had a bundle of firewood on her head and carried a child on her back.

Another vision then appeared this time from a westerly direction, it was a shadow of a young men walking and carrying a stick. Like a shepherd, he walked behind a herd of cows. He whistled melodies which their echoes I could recall from some of my dreams, perhaps from my past life.

As I listen to his beautiful music, I was taken to another place then something else started to happen. I felt water rising from underneath my feet, at some point it went beyond my knees.

Then another vision appeared, I saw humans bodies emerging from the ground, they surfaced from all directions. They also sung the shepherd’s whistle song.

Soon we were all engulfed by the sacred waters while we also kept singing. Looking around, it seemed as though we were now inside a mother’s womb. There was a sense of peace, love and security. From a distance, I could also hear the heartbeat of the cosmos. Then I was born.



Nduduzo Makhathini

I Saw an Old Man who Began Telling Tales

From deep beneath the waters, the gods started hearing so much noise and it disturbed them from their rest. The humans have invaded sacred spaces with their inventions and technologies, thus creating sounds that shocked the entire cosmos.

Some millions of years ago, these spaces were marked as sacred by our forefathers. Our ancestors had deeper connections to the cosmos, they also spoke and understood languages of the gods. As such, they left tons of open land unused. This then allowed the gods to have space for their visits. Ancient gods lived and traveled in gigantic bodies hence some rivers, mountains and forests were kept vacant and free from human usage because they were understood as places where gods lived and rested.

In particular seasons humans and all living things would visit these sacred lands and waters to receive blessings from the gods.

In recent times humans have started to invade and pollute these spaces in various ways. This has angered the gods, and some of them are now leaving us for other worlds.

But how would our world be without the presence of our gods?

Umbono (02122019)

Nduduzo Makhathini

Standing Around the Fire

It was late at night, after their evening feast. The villagers, men and women stood around a large burning fire, as it was a cold winter night. They sung beautiful songs, in deep conversations they triggered memories of the past. As the drum played, some had gone in a trance, at times even burning their hands and feet as they felt no pain. The gods had entered the place, and the grace of the old spirits was upon them.

As they danced around the fire, a childlike figure appeared from the center. She spoke with a huge voice as though speaking through a body of primitive ancestor. Her voice echoed in the mountains, caves, forests and rivers. She spoke with uttermost command and clarity.

Though speaking in a language never heard before, from underneath their feet they all understood the meanings of her words. Her eyes had a light unseen before, and anyone that looked directly into her eyes was pulled into the fire and soon vanishing. When the audiences noticed that, they began to listened with their eye closed fearful of disappearing into space.

Some panicked to a point of even attempting to escape, but her presence and that of the gods had amplified, gravity anchored their feet so deep in the ground. At some point no one could even move.

She seemed to be completely uninterrupted by all that was happening. She just looked at them then continued to speak saying ‘I’m sent by your forefathers and mothers that now live in another world.’ Then she said ‘they have found large enough lands to accommodate you all.’ She took a pause, then said ‘they have attained freedoms as great as the skies and deep as the oceans.’

After this statement, many started to sob, they cried because, over the years, they had accepted having no land, having no freedom. Freedom had become too abstract an idea for some that they believed their freedom lived on the edges of slavery. Similar to their land, they had been pushed away to live on the edges, their center had been stolen. They had tuned in to a frequency of indigence.

Some did not want to hear about their past and ancestors. Even saying they did not want to encounter a future that carried any overtones of their past. They had disconnected from heritage, and their abandoned legacies.

Sensing their fears, she then said ‘I’m now leaving to go back home, those whom have sent me are soon coming. The underworlds will soon emerge on earth. All that was buried in the past, is the future that you await.’ Then she vanished



Nduduzo Makhathini

A Seeker

As though I am a visitor in my forefathers land

My rituals are strange, they are not understood

My forefathers’ gods are unknown to man, they are unknown to their granddaughters

My freedom only comes in the night, when everyone is asleep, when no one can see me

My customs have become midnight customs, that is also if I am fortunate enough not to be disrupted by those in government uniforms


Now in the very dark I speak to my gods

I dance with the gods

I remember that I am a mystical man, I live in two worlds

I refuse to disconnect with the ‘dead’

The so called dead visit me, they speak to me, they guide me and they are my light


I am a strange man and my technologies are scary to man

My drum is too loud a truth

I am a seeker


Inkondlo (02.11.2019)

Nduduzo Makhathini