#Photoessay | Jozi’s Live Music Scene: Faces + Spaces [2013 – 2017]

I started to follow the black band scene closely once I got to Jozi 5 years ago. I would get asked by people then — and it still happens today — what the end-goal was for the images. I never knew how to answer.

Time has passed, and it’s clear now that multiple strands begin to emerge when we pay attention for an enduring amount of time.

These strands are pathways which communicate the message in the music beyond the realm of where the making and/or performance of it occurs.

People | Alexander Theatre, ’13

These images serve as permanent testimonials to the impermanence of black bands; many of the outfits have since dissolved or shuffled line-ups.

These snaps have been culled and collected from an archive which includes a Brother Moves On gig at Alexandra Theatre in 2013, to the Basha Uhuru Freedom Festival that went down in June 2016, and more. Documenting music scenes is turning out to be a fulfilling, challenging task. It leaves one drained of energy, but still yearning for the next clip.

It’s also never clear-cut; some people have unreasonable expectations, while others are downright dodgy.

Yet it’s important work.

The markers are engraved in historical record. I partake in building this work because the message, the agenda, is clear: We, black people, aren’t allowed to own the shits; who we are, what we want, how we want to present ourselves — none of these count.

It’s my hope that the images shall appear in book form one day, so that kids’ll look at them, and be able to get a representation from one of their own; so they can witness, and hopefully derive beauty from, these experiments; these on-going records.

Nakhane (formerly Nakhane Touré) soundcheckin’ | The Bannister Hotel, ’15
Nakhane, probably telling Travis to pick up his phone. This was the first gig he’d organised himself. Bongeziwe Mabandla was also gonna cold rock the paardy | The Bannister Hotel, ’15
Bare essentials at a Zuko Collective rehearsal | SABC Studios ’14
Zu of Zuko Collective holding bassist Sbu’s instrument. They’re the original two, and only enduring members of the live outfit whose sound has evolved over the years | SABC Studios, ’14
Zu performing as part of the Brown Babies collective, a heavyweight connective of royal goons like Tumi Mogorosi doin’ damage on the drum-mage, and Makongela providing endless guitar riffs | The Orbit, ’14
Lerato Lichaba of Urban Village makin’ sure that tings run proper pre-gig @ Basha Uhuru Freedom Festival | Constitution Hill, ’16
Nosisi Ngakane w/ The Brother Moves On @ Basha Uhuru | Constitution Hill, ’14
Off-cut from a Johnny Cradle photoshoot | Maboneng, ’17
Siya Mthembu of The Brother Moves On prepares for visa missions ahead of their Oorkant Tour | Melville, ’16
The Brother Moves On | Alexander Theatre, ’13
Nyameko Nkondlwane of Radio123 during the Impande Core days | Newtown, ’13
Impande Core | Maboneng, ’13
Samthing Soweto | Maboneng, ’14
Off-cut from Thandi Ntuli’s “Cosmic Light” photoshoot | Maboneng, ’16
Ade Omotade, Mothusi Thusi and Samkelo Mdolomba after their last gig as The Fridge | Maboneng, ’15
BCUC @ The Birth of R.A.P w/ Bittereinder | Newtown, ’15
Leomile (middle) | Braamfontein, ’15
Impande Core used to host Sunday afternoon/evening jam sessions at the now-nonexistent Club Zen. They’d invite a band in the scene; offer them a stage. This is backstage | Maboneng, ’13
8 Bar Short were Itai Thalefi & Pelonomi Moiloa. This showcase took place after they’d signed to Tumi Molekane & Bradley Williams’ Motif Records | Braamfontein, ’14


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