We Used To Dance: A Tribute to a Friend

Those 5/6 hours on a bus trip from Durban to Joburg felt really short. Even those overpriced taxi rides from Park Station to Yoeville then the melting pot of all things, didn’t bother me much since my eagerness and yearning to ‘dance’ had become deeper. Now thinking back I realize that the cab drivers bakoGauteng probably took advantage of this innocent looking Zulu boy because of my accent hence the overpricing. Anyway they got me to my destination pretty safe and sound, the rest is real history.

Every jazz musician used to come to this home, almost everyone I got to play with shortly after I had moved up to Joburg I got introduced to at this home. In fact one of my first jazz regular gig at ‘Rocka’ then in Milpark was when I was depping for this special friend I’m talking about, this eventually became a regular gig for me.

Time used to fly so quick in this home, learning new songs, getting exposed to all kinds of records and most memorable the stories I heard, they were out of this world and so organically giving me a clear picture of what to expect when I eventually move up to Joburg, ‘kwanyama kayipheli kuphela amazinyo endoda‘ I was to later learn that this was indeed true.

After everything and all those lessons the last thing I would do is to bother this generous man by asking for a place to sleep, so I would claim that I would be catching a bus back home at midnight. Well the truth is I would have to go back to the bus station and sleep on the benches to catch a bus the next morning and again this was well with me. I would be smiling my way back to Durban to tell everyone how beautiful, generous and giving my new friend/mentor was.

I remember on one of my first TV gigs (Lilizela Mlilizeli) I was playing 2nd keyboards for this great pianist, now at least my accommodation would be sorted so we spent hours listening to then his new record Who’s Got the Map he made me learn some of his tunes before the record hit the stores, I was over the moon.

Too many stories to tell, for now I just thought I should share briefly with you on how I got to Joburg and perhaps how I got into the jazz circuits thereafter.

Enkosi Tshawe

Nduduzo Makhathini

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