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Born for Greatness
Born in 1955, Frank Leepa taught himself music after dropping out of school and he became one of the best musicians of our known history. He started Anti-Antiques in 1974, and then Uhuru in 1976 – 1977 and Sankomota right after that. Sankomota’s music became the defining sound of the 1980s and 1990s. They were kicked out of South Africa in Sharpeville in 1976, by the SA’s Special Branch and told never to come to the country again. Their music was also banned. They finally toured Europe – where they met Ian Kerkhoff (now known as Aryan Kaganoff) and his interview in Melkweg catapulted Sankomota to European stardom. Sankomota was the first band in and out of Lesotho, to record an LP in that country in 1984. The band was banned in South Africa so they could not record anything in this country. Shifty’s Lloyd Ross drove his mobile studio to Maseru and recorded the pioneering and historical self-titled album of Sankomota.
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Ga ke Modisa, by Sabata-mpho Mokae
Ga ke Modisa is a Setswana proverbial phrase. The English equivalent is “I am not his (my brother’s) keeper”. The story is about two brothers; the younger one being a small town newspaper editor and the older brother being the mayor in the same town. The story is set in the town of Christiana in the North West. In this, his first installment of fiction, the decorated journalist Sabata-mpho Mokae reveals his genius in his language and storytelling.
Mokae is Sol Plaatje scholar and he is also the author of The Story of Sol Plaatje – a biography of the struggle hero and African titan.
Sarcophagus is a novella which follows the trials and tribulations of a poor family that experiences one tragedy after another. The story is narrated by a nameless, faceless narrator. Telling this story to a young boy who seems to be in a hurry to get somewhere and keeps asking the narrator to please finish. The setting is a village called Sekhing, a real village in the North West province. The family is comprised of five members: mom, dad and three children. The father is a migrant labourer and spends the majority of his time away from home. He dies fairly early in the story, and his older son steps up, against his mother’s objections, and becomes the breadwinner. Things go downhill very quickly from this point. The young breadwinner struggles to cope with his responsibilities, the mother suffers depression and the younger boy runs away from home. In the end the pain becomes too much and the mother kills herself and her youngest child. There is an interesting surprise in the ending. The narrator reveals the reason why he has chosen to tell him the story of that family, and it is a nice plot twist.