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Marikana. A Moment in Time (Geko, 2013) is a collection of essays, articles, poems and photos by South African and international writers, activists and artists. The book is edited by Dr Raphael d’Abdon (Postdoctoral Fellow at UNISA) and published by the young and independent publisher Geko Publishing. All the proceeds from this book will be donated to the school of Marikana.
The volume includes a foreword by Makhosazana Xaba and the writings of Prof Njabulo N Ndebele, Simphiwe Dana, Ari Sitas, Prof Tinyiko Maluleke, Napo Masheane, Pitika Ntuli, Prof Pietro Basso, Philo Ikonya, Phillippa Yaa de Villiers, Afurakan, Lance Henson and Abdul Milazi, to name a few. It captures the mood, the opinions, the commentaries of renowned South African and international scholars, activists and artists in essays, articles, poems and images. Some photos were taken by Mandy de Waal and her son Kyle, while others came from Yazeed Kamaldien. September National Imbizo (SNI) also contributed an opinion piece. Philo Ikonya is a Kenyan poet who now lives in exile in Norway. Ikonya was in South Africa in 2012 during Poetry Africa, and she contributed with a poem titled “Evening Falls”.
In her Foreword, Makhosana Xaba says that this book is a blessing and a “dressing on the wound of South Africa”. She reminds us that “the brutal rule of power remains with us. And it kills”, and that “in the name of human dignity, the struggle must continue”. Indeed, she adds, this book “is an offering of solidarity”.
The collection is endorsed by some of the most respected scholars in South Africa, such as Prof Njabulo S Ndebele, Prof Tinyiko Maluleke, Ari Sitas and Pitika Ntuli. Ndebele says that he supports this project for its noble intentions of assisting the Marikana community.
The events of August 14, 2012 at Marikana have reverberated throughout the world – with intense anger, disappointment and disbelief. The shooting and killing of miners on that day indicated how our society still places profit before its people.
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This heart-rending biography of one of Africa’s legends of contemporary music, is a well-written and fluid account of the life and times of Frank Leepa, the founder, leader and composer of Sankomota. Mpho A. Leepa – Frank Leepa’s younger sister – gives an almost-complete account of her brother’s fulfilled, yet turbulent time in Lesotho, South Africa and Europe. Frank Leepa died on November 27, 2003 after a short illness. Mpho takes us on a journey of this genius – from childhood, to political turmoil of Lesotho, to missing a chance to gig in America for 6-months to their success in South Africa and in Europe. Leepa also outlines her brother’s footsteps with his bands – from Anti-Antiques, to Uhuru and finally Sankomota. This book is an important addition to the understanding of the history of Lesotho and South Africa through music. It is beautifully written and it is a reflection of raw emotions that have been banked by Leepa’s family.
The legacy of the founder of Sankomota – a very popular African music band – is now available as a book. Written by Frank Leepa’s sister, Mpho A Leepa, Born for Greatness: Biography of Frank Leepa covers the important parts of Frank Leepa’s life – from the killing of his father by the a rented SADF military gunship, to his uphill battle in music and starting his band about three times to his love life and the finality of his death. This book qualifies as an almost-complete account of Frank Leepa’s short life.
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Sankomota: An Ode in One Album – A Reflective Essay is the result of many years of research and obsession about the music and band of Sankomota. The book is a slim offering that offers insights into the first album ever recorded in Lesotho, Sankomota by the band Sankomota. Recorded in 1983, this album became an instant classic.
Mofokeng’s essay touches on mythology, performance, language and politics of this important band that was at the frontier of anti-apartheid and freedom music. In this essay Mofokeng attempts to paint a broad image of the musical landscape of the time and unveil the musical obsessions of Sankomota. This book is not definitive, but it is a worthwhile addition to the body of literature and to an ethno-musical understanding of SA’s musical history.
“I think it is impossible to write a complete book on a titanic band such as Sankomota. ‘An Ode in One Album’ is important, but it is still only introductory. I hope it will open the gates to a broader discussion and deeper understanding of our history, but from a musical point of view,” said Mofokeng.
Mofokeng approaches the life and music of his compatriots and one of southern Africa’s iconic groups Sakomonta with a familiarity and vividness of accounts, only an articulate connoisseur of our region’s music can muster. He writes with a language and spirit that is non-pretentious and convivial in equal measure. A labour of love for his people and this continent’s cultural riches, Mofokeng’s book thus retains the poetic presence that both the Lesotho landscape and its people have always possessed.
Tshireletso Motlogelwa – Editor: The Business Weekly & Review Botswana