The Story of Songs

A beautiful song had been traveling from a faraway world in search of her unknown mother. As a song, she had been told in her dreams that she possessed a charming voice, but when she was awake no one could hear her. This bothered her for many years. Some elders of her kind had told her that she will only manifest as sound in the presence of her mother whom will give her as a gift to the greatest musician.

She also learned that, somewhere in another world her mother awaits her in meditation, she awaits quietly. Some also told her that, her mother was kind and over many years she had been blessing all living things with the gift of sound. In other planets, praise singers worshipped her mother as a goddess from which all creation is born.

The more she heard about these stories, her heart jumped with anticipation for this meeting with a special being. She traveled at a like light though she had no knowledge of where she was heading. She went to many worlds, she heard birds and human beings that sung beautifully but when she spoke to them no one could hear her.

Sometimes she would hide and cry painfully thinking that, perhaps she had been cursed for not being obedient. She prayed to her mother but she could not hear her respond. She expected to hear the sound of her mother’s voice.

As she travelled past a great village of the praise singers she felt a presence that she had never felt before. She wondered about life in the village. It was the most quiet place she had ever been to, people of the village never spoke and during specific rituals they would sing. When they sung, the entire village vibrated. The soil produce food. The streams and rivers will over flow with water. The sun knew their voices and the sky followed the tonality of their song. The moon danced to their drum.

Still amazed at the power of these beings, everything went quite again. This time she did not panic but immersed herself with silence and soon the praise singer chanted her melody.

And that how all songs find their sound, when they join their mother silence in meditation.

Silence the Mother of all

Nduduzo Makhathini


To Find not, but to be Found

Then a group of men appeared. They were dressed in golden garments. They looked alike. They sung a ‘Song of Songs’

They followed the river current. They traveled in a Southerly direction. They adhered to the sound of birds. They knew gravity and grace similarly.

These men were seekers. They had been to every village. They lived and spoke the truth. All living things smiled at their presence.

Their seeking knew no finding. They were seeking as purpose for being.

These men were invisible.They were only seen by fellow seekers. Their ultimate meditation was invisibility. They knew that their Gods were invisible.

These men had no possession. They were possessed by the truth. The truth of being silent. The truth of being invisible. The truth of being found.

Izwi likaMoya

Nduduzo Makhathini


Dreams of the Earth

A woman that was old, had lived for many centuries. Her grandchildren once asked, ‘what is the ultimate wisdom’. She told them that ‘it is to understand how the universe dreams’.

She also told them that, ‘as much as humans were gifted the capacity to dream, it was also necessary for them to have intimate connections with the cosmos’. She believed that the universe operated in equations, thus the manifestation of human dreams relied on synchronicities with the cosmological spheres.

One day the old woman, told her grandchildren that she was leaving to join her ancestors in the other worlds. As they listened closely, she said ‘follow your dreams to the very end’ and she died.

As the children grew older they wondered about the deeper meaning of their grandmothers last words of wisdom. Some of the children saw her in dreams but could not figure out a way of enquiring on her last message. Some heard her voice calling them from a faraway place. As time went by her voice became more audible, the dreams more clearer.

One day the children decided to follow her voice, and perhaps in that way they could reach their dreams. The children wanted to live a more purposeful life, they wanted to be in harmony with the cosmic dream.

Out in the wilderness, they follow the voice of their grandmother. At some point they would follow one direction when eventually they would realize that the voice was now calling from the opposite side. Her voice reverberated in the mountains and caves causing an endless echoe that confused the direction of the message. The children started to become tired and weak, some children complained saying that, ‘the journey didn’t have get the blessings of the elders hence such dismay’.

They soon arrived in a deserted land, the sand was so dry and hot, their feet were burning. Some cried, in another realm the old women felt so much pain and she appeared right above their heads. She said ‘you are now close to the cosmic dream’. She also carried bottles of water, she gave to them and disappeared.

After they had drank, they felt as though gravity was pulling their feet deep into the ground. Their feet were still burning, but they had forgotten about that, the burning was now that of their eagerness to know their dreams. They had transcended fear and pain.

Soon the gravitational pull had intensified even stronger, they could no longer walk. A huge flame emerged from their feet and they engulfed in in a huge fire but not burning. Other beings emerged inside the flame, they were short with reptilian tails and multiple hands. These beings sung in an ancient tongue, the children remembered this song and they joined in the singing.

To this day it is not know what followed. People in village claim that the children becomes birds and they found their dream. They now sing everyday with the sounds of the spheres.

Isipho Sabadala

Nduduzo Makhathini

The Shepherd

There once lived a family of shepherds, from generation to the next, the secret knowledge of looking after cattle had been transmitted in somewhat mystical ways. After several dreams and visitations by the ones whom have departed — a chosen one in the every generation would disappear into the wilderness to be initiated for the gift.

The initiate would be guided by the elders into a secret place. To this day, the secret place remains unkown to men, even the elders whom acted as guides would not enter but while await from outside, they would pray for the gods to receive the initiate. Nonetheless, due to curiosity and ignorance towards the sacredness of this practice, it is said that some people have made attempts to enter the secret place and have since disappeared from the face of the earth. The elders say, this place can only be reached when one has a calling that in itself is passed on by from the departed ones.

It was know by the villagers that the secret place was a sacred space of the gods. Upon their return, some initiates had shared about a technology that was used during their initiation. They referenced a fingerprint system that was used to transfer information and past histories from the gods to men.

In ritual, the initiates would also be granted gifts of the wilderness. This rite of passage was understood as the process of opening the sixth sense, towards a heightened ability to anticipate danger through the ankles and a method to foresee the future among other things. To complete the training, the last three days initiation would be spent in a dream where one travels to extraterrestrial heights. It’s believed that our earlier ancestors and their gods lived out there.

Initiates would also be given tasks to take into their dream. One such tasks was to learn one common dialect, a spoken language that was understood ranging from humans, animals and right across to plants. Some claimed that the language could also be used to communicate to unseen gods and other divinities of the wilderness.

Many people in the family of shepherds had these gifts. There were also rumors that, over the years, they had super powers to communicate from miles away through whistling. Some claimed that, the family used the whistling technique to steal cows from other tribes. This led to other tribes attacking the family at various times in their history. As a result and the initiate in the secret place was the last in the last to graduate.

When he graduated he came back home and looked after a huge herd of cattle. But after a while, he became lonely as most of his family had died during tribal wars, and the elders in the village were also aging. While he was in wilderness with the cattle, he would invent musical instruments that he played to achieve companionship. Some say these instruments are still found in the mountains, and it’s believed that they create sounds on their own.

After many years of being a shepherd, the chosen one was getting old and gradually loosing his eye sight. It is said that he continued to travel and herd cattle without seeing, he had mastered and internalized the journey. But as years went by, he could not walk. Some say he would be awake at night and sleep during the day, while heading the cattle in his dreams.

He eventually died as he was becoming weaker and weaker. It is said that on day he died the cattle vanished.

Iphupho 21032020

Nduduzo Makhathini

A Forgotten Race

Over many days, I had fallen into deep sleep, I traveled many places and dimensions seeing various forms of existence. I could no longer tell the difference between what I saw in dreams and in reality. Life on earth had completely transformed and the experiences in the world matched those in dreams. The once thought of as the impossible was now upon us.

Moving between two forms of sleep, caught in a parallel dream state, I soon woke up. The sun rays shined directly into my eyes, and it felt as though I had just been born, like a new born child from the mother’s womb having their initial contact with light.

I tried to raise my head but I was very weak. Around me, stood three elderly women whom I did not know. One stood at the edge of my feet, another near my left arm and the other right next to my head.

In their heads, they carried large calabashes that dripped of an oily substance. I also noticed that all them had wings that covered most of their bodies. They looked alike and everything they did was in sync. They also spoke with the same voice. The only physical difference I could noticed between them was the one above my head had three eyes.

As I listen to them, I recalled their voices in my dream, they had been whispering in my ears when I was asleep. As my memory slowly gathered consciousness, I remembered that I had also seen them in my dream. They spoke of a different race that was to enter our planet. They warned that those who had power and who are now hiding in unkown places, were the only ones that knew about the coming of the unkown race. The rest of humanity had disappeared into extinction.

The elderly women continued and said they are here to save me. They sad they had prepared a place for me elsewhere, where our forefathers had gone.

They said that before extinction, humans had tried to escape the turmoil, the elders had gone up to the mountains to pray to the gods but disappeared. Some built arks, and some invented aircraft but none survived the harshness of life on earth.

They said the world had been sold to another race by men that looked like ourselves but had power over the world. In return these men were promised space to hide here on earth even when all the other beings had gone.

As I listened a huge synthetic voice emerged as though coming from the sky and said, ‘we walked on this earth before you, the memories you call your own are ours. We created all that you see around you’. As the voice echoed, everything began to disappear. I could no longer see myself or the elderly women whom were telling tales.



Nduduzo Makhathini


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.