The mood felt similar to that of December holidays back home in Pietermariztburg. I was taken back to my upbringing. But quite surprisingly, in these childhood moments, there were musicians that I’m currently working and collaborating with now. It felt as though we all waited there with anticipation for all our relatives that would be visiting from afar. Though we knew that uGogo Alphinah had now transitioned, she was part of the gathering and as usual she led us in prayer. I remember her quoting her usual prayer phrase ‘Simakade, siyazibeka kuwe, nezidalwa zonke ezisemagumbini amane omhlaba…’

After she finished praying she disappeared into the sky. From that point the atmosphere changed quite drastically. The mood had evolved from the busyness of the township, sounds of cars, people talking and loud sound systems, we started becoming more aware of the natural sounds, a deeper cosmic music. I recall a group of musicians that stood there with me making comments about how they also felt as though their hearing sensibilities had been heightened.

As we wondered, another layer of awareness emerged. The sky displayed various types of illustrations (similar to the work of Mzwandile Buthelezi) of gigantic and abstract beings we had never seen before, some had four legs, some three eyes. The view was profoundly beautiful and colorful. Some of the dominating colors were red, black, yellow and others.

Still taken by this beauty we all took out our modern day gadgets (cellphones, cameras) trying to capture these moments. To our astonishment, we were taken back to the human made noises and cloudy sky of this world. It felt as though we were being punished for not being able immense ourselves in such a sincere moment.

Iphupho 13062019

Nduduzo Makhathini

The Three Spirits that Descended: Exploring Piano Approaches

One day, when our ancestors first heard the piano in their dreams, before it was even made, they loved it so much that a huge conference was held somewhere beneath the earth. The meeting was, among other things, to discuss what spirits would occupy the various ranges and registers of this huge instrument and for what purpose[s].

The elderly men said, they wanted to occupy the lower register. They felt that in this way they would be sitting closer to the doors of all musical possibilities. And thus becoming the gate way to all knowledge and all creation would named after them to reclaim their immortality. As they wished all was given. Melodies and chords were named after them, all sounds were rooted in them. These men spoke in low frequency voices, they had less to say and often uttered one word at a time.

Then the mothers said, they wanted to occupy the middle range, as they believed that it was a space of all inspiration. Their wish was granted, they became the heart and soul of all music and a bridge that shaped sounds before, now and future sounds. They provided all music with a gift of infinite harmonic possibilities. These mothers sang in multiple voices, through their harmony, music found the warmth of a home and mysteries of tomorrow.

Finally, the children then said, they wanted to occupy the upper register as a space of excitement and exploration. Their wish was permitted and the upper register became a safe space where all children lived and played day in, and day out. Their music was an echo from the teachings of yesterday, the teachings elders. They became an extension of a mother.

Revelations (31052019)

Nduduzo Makhathini

A Glimpse of Freedom

Forgetting has caused us pain, it has divided us and robbed us of our collective memory. We are now scattered in foreign lands, and even in the lands of our ancestors we have become visitors. In our forgetfulness we have lost that which make, define and unite us.

The past that we hate so much has stolen evocations of our hijacked futures. We suffer a history of stolen years and a future of ‘borrowed’ years. We are born within histories that have reduced us to moving images of our unrealized potentials of self. Glimpses of our freedoms resides in our rituals, art, dreams and prayers, through which we are able to reconnect with our inner essence but this too is temporary. Can our freedom go beyond song, that moment of singing, of drumming and prayer? Perhaps our very songs will someday transform our realities in this strange world.

The memories we have lost, are memories of tomorrow.

Imicabango 24.05.2019

Nduduzo Makhathini

A Love Dance in the Key of Africa

They had been walking together long enough such that their pulse unified. In unison, they had spoken about everything they have ever thought of, wondered about and done under the sun. They spoke about their dreams, fears, aspirations and visions. Eventually they became quite, they had no words, they had said everything. In silence, their thoughts were quietened. For the first time, they felt a deep awareness of the sounds and rhythms of their feet, the beating of their hearts. They danced to the rhythm of the earth. Through their feet they heard the forgotten songs of their forefathers.

They had become profoundly in tune with each other and their surroundings. They began to walk with their eyes closed even through the deepest forests. They had learned to open the eyes of their hearts. The light shined over them, nature whispered love songs to their hearts. 

In their synchronicity a third being emerged, it was a projection of their oneness, a projection of their fondness and a hologram of their freedom. Trinity became a symbol of their love. 

Indatshana 25052019

Nduduzo Makhathini

Abantwana Basekukhanyeni (Children of Light)

After being carried by a bird over many lands, seas and sky[s], our pilgrimage had led us to this tranquil space. As we arrived, it looked and felt as though it had been raining, the soil sung with a great aroma. In harmony the trees lived while the rivers and streams pledged evolving melodic motifs telling stories of tomorrow. From a distance we heard the overtones of the rainbow. The mountains echoed the invisible histories of our people.

This was no ordinary day in a special place. Unlike the many years of searching, questioning and seeking, instead in effortless ways this day felt fulfilling for both my guide and I. We sat for hours under a tree where the magic bird had left us. It felt as though words were not necessary in these moments, even movement was suspended. In stillness, we had fully become aware of each other’s presence even in intense silence.

At sunset we advanced towards the nearest village where we would spend the next couple of moons with the wise ones and the elders of the village. Before we could arrive, two wooden gates appeared ahead of us and as we came closer the one on the right slowly opened, and immediately after we had walked it closed behind us.

Being inside the gate was being in another planet, everything changed to an uncommon vibration. It was dark, cold, and a little windy. I looked at the sky, it appeared to be much closer than I had seen and experienced anywhere before. It seemed as though it was filled with some kind of liquid forms. As I looked even deeper into the sky, I began to see what appeared as unborn babies [like] figures that moved similar to a fetus inside the womb, their movement produced a musical sound.

Still marveled at what I was seeing and hearing, a whilst-like voice spoke, after which my guide (whom spoke all whistle languages including ‘umlozi’ and other complex languages of the birds) translated what was being said. He mentioned something about rebirth, but my attention was still drawn to mystical nature of the place.

Soon after, a child dress in a grey linen garment walked towards us from an easterly direction, accompanied by a massive white cloud right above her head. She spoke in a gentle voice and said; ‘Welcome to the land of eternal youth, this gift was given to us by our ancestors, it allows us to be in touch with all things seen and unseen, known and unknown, and part of our mission is to pass gift to all who seekers of truth.’ She then held my hand and I became a child too.

My guide then spoke to me in a whistling tongue (this time I understood every note): ‘My felicitations to you. You have now graduated to being a mystic, all your senses are now heightened, there shall be no need for my guidance anymore, from today follow your intuition and the light shall follow you always.’ Then he vanished.

Umbono (COL21052019)

Nduduzo Makhathini

The Invention of Ancient Technology

I had been traveling for a long period of time looking for the wise one who knew everything about human evolution. After several years I reached his-her shrine, he-she spoke with his-her back to the audience. I was told that no man had ever seen his-her face. He-she said;

Before the technology of telepathy, dreams, visions, songs, prayers, meditation and even death, humans used to travel between planets in their physical bodies. These beings were gifted with light bodies and could travel at significantly high speeds. Some could even fly as they had wings, but most beings traveled using a web of ropes that formed an organized network connecting all planets above and below. One day after humans had fallen asleep for the first time and not traveled for several days, the gods became angry and cut all the ropes that connected the planets.

Eventually, when the humans woke up they discovered that all ropes were cut and those that had wings could no longer fly. Since humans had, communities, families and friends across planets that they needed to communicate with, the decision made by the gods resulted in a lot of sadness as humans could no longer transmit messages between planets. After a long meeting between the gods of all planets, it was declared to humans that new forms of technologies were invented to assist them communicate across planets, space and time. Humans from all over became once again optimistic and excited about life and this message from the big gods, they celebrated over several days of sleeplessness. The gods further declared that due of humans’ laziness, they were no longer allowed to travel between planets in their physical bodies but through telepathy, dreams, visions, songs, prayer and death of the body.

Personal communication with teachers from another time: Dream Code 16052019

Nduduzo Makhathini

Songs that Traveled

These beings had massive voices, when they sung their songs traveled lots of miles to far away places. They projected certain songs to nearby villages, sometimes over the sea, through the sky and even deep underground. The wise ones say, each of these beings could sing up to twelve vocal parts simultaneously, with each composition lasting over a day or two in length. 

In those days, all humans knew the science of songs, some spoke of melodies that were stored in caves, forests, mountains and rivers. We were also told that, some of these songs had traveled from unknown places over thousands of years to supplement planet earth with diverse types of energy fields. Over the years, these ancient beings had developed various systems for storage such as digital archives and other energy libraries, at any given moment these beings were able to allow these songs to perform in public ceremonies, celebrations and rituals through advance song projection systems. 

Other special songs such as healing songs, rain songs amongst others were sung by chosen singers. These chosen beings were believed not to have been born off the human race, but were thought of as tangible manifestations of songs themselves, they embodied the spirits of the great gods. These beings never ate any food and were never involved in any human activities or needs, they only emerged to sing and when a given piece of music was completed, they would dissolve into water and eventually disappear. 

Umbono 02.05.2019

Nduduzo Makhathini