AFROTRONIC -new release -Future music with Afro roots y’all!!

Future music with African roots y’all!!

  • Afrotronic. All songs on the Afrotronic album are influenced by music from Southern to North Africa and all consists original elements from the local cultures, such as the use of original instruments like the mbira (kalimba) and traditional drums and percussion recorded with local musicians. African artists such as singers Consular, Yemu Matibe and Alungile Sixishe contribute to this album with warm voices, vocals sung in Ghanese and in the Xhosa language.

Afrotronic has ultimately become an adventurous, electronic, jazzy album, in which influences can be heard from Afro-pop, Dub Step, Deep House and South African Amapiano.

Check the livestream via Youtube, Facebook or Instagram!

Listen to both albums on Spotify or iTunes

Vinyl LP available via RUSH HOUR store & distribution worldwide

(poem for a) Coral Reef. The Great Barrier Reef should be listed as ‘in danger’

The loss of coral reefs worldwide is unfortunately an increasingly acute problem today.

Unesco: The Great Barrier Reef should be listed as ‘in danger’

I feel that the time is right to re-post (poem for a) Coral Reef, on the beauty of coral reefs, ecosystems in peril.

The original English lyrics have been translated in the Xhosa language by Lunga Heleni.

The song was recorded in South Africa at Sonic Art studio in Grahamstown.

Credits & Thank You!

Yemu Matibe who studies at Grahamstown’s Rhodes University sings the operatic parts.

Alungile Sixishe recites the text in Xhosa.

The song is based upon ‘Dido & Anaïs’ by Händel.

Musical accompaniment by Brazilian guitarist Nelson Latif and South African maestro James Foerie on kalimba and percussion.

Piano by Coen Molenaar. Cello by Bonno Lange.

© Eddy De Clercq/Ubuntu Publishing 2010/2021


See also this previous post for the English lyrics and translation in Xhosa

Listen to the original version of Poem For A Coral Reef by Yemu Matibe & Alungile Sixishe

(poem for a) Coral Reef  -English lyrics

by Eddy De Clercq

Eternal source of color and light

a world without seasons

a world without reason

no day nor night

flowers born out of rock and sand

a garden untouched by human hand

rays of light break thru emerald

fish disappearing in deep blue depths

clouds of silver shimmering

vibrating pulse of life

thru misty depths of deep dark

full of unseen creatures

that crawl along the bottom

hide in cracks and holes of the reef

change color quickly

hide in a cloud of inky water

down here floating over the coral reef

this deafening silence that surrounds me

once man has seen this beauty

will he understand his own belief?

(poem for a) Coral Reef –Ikorale yoqaqa lolwandle -Xhosa lyrics

translated by Lunga Heleni

Mthombo wanaphakade wombala nokhanyo

Ilizwe ngaphandle kwamaxesha onyaka

Ilizwe ngaphandle kwezizathu

Kungekho suku nabusuku

Zintyatyamb’ ezizelelw’ ematyeni nasesantini

Sitiya esingachukunyiswanga sandla samntu

Matha okhanyo aqhekeza ngapha kwe – emeraldi

Ntlanzi ezinyamalalela kwiinzulw’ eziluhlaza

Mafu esilivere amenyezelayo

Intontozo esukumayo yobomi

Kwiinzulu ezinkungwana zobunzul’ obumnyama

Zizele zizilo ezingekabonwa

Zikhasela kumazantsi olwandle

Zizimele kumathanda nasemingxunyeni yoqaqa lolwandle

Zijik’ umbala msinyane

Zizimele kwilifu lamanz’ aluzizi

Ezantsi apha zidada ngaphaya kwekorale yolwandle

Lenzolw’ ibang’ ubuthul’ obundingqongayo

Xa umntu ethe wabona obubuhle

Angayiqonda na eyakhe inkolelo?

© Eddy De Clercq/Ubuntu Publishing 2010


free peoples concert at the Witwatersrand University March 12th 1972

one of those historical important recordings

Soul Safari

free peoples concert no 1 cover

please take some time out to listen to both sides of this unique and ultra rare album, recorded at an open air festival at the Witwatersrand University March 12th 1972 in Johannesburg. It was not a free festival, visitors were expected to contribute money to the organisation TEACH (Teach Every African Child), but the idea of the festival was that all visitors were “free people”.

The line-up of artists shows all colors of the Rainbow Nation, the idealized nation of all peoples who inhabit South Africa. It was apparently well possible in 1972 in South Africa  that a festival brought together national musicians of all races and color in the spirit of Woodstock, the most famous rock concert and festival ever held in August 1969 in Bethel USA.  For many, Woodstock showed the counterculture of the 1960s and the “hippie era” and I guess that the same ideals also applied to the folk festival on the grounds of the…

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dj Eddy De Clercq -AMAPIANO SET @ Cluster Unplugged Palazzo Brancaccio-ROMA 27 NOV 21. Playing my favourite SA House & Amapiano tunes, including some new tracks from Racheal Botha & presenting my new album AFROTRONIC. Thanks to Ferruccio Belmonte, Giacomo Guidi for the invite and hospitality & the party people from Roma @ Palazzo Brancaccio.

for my yearly X-mas mix I found inspiration in South African House and Amapiano music…playing my favorite new SA House tunes, some of my own productions and a few classic Afro-flavored tunes. Happy Holidays! Best wishes for 2022 from Soul Safari!


Tracklist / Track/  Artist

01) Zikomo (Eddy De Clercq Remix -demo/unreleased lacquer) -Racheal Botha

02) Banyana -dj Maphorisa

03) Izolo-dj Maphorisa & Tyler ICU

04) Father To Be-Black Motion feat Dr. Malinga

05) unknown

06) Set Me Free (Main Mix) -Black Motion feat Xolim

07) Ongala (ARN4L2 Remix)-ARN4L2

08) Matoba (Arn4L2 Edit) – Veve -ARN4L2

09) Lagos Jump (Raw Mix -Afro Elements

10) Miss Ghana (Afro Baby) -Orlando Voorn Dub Step Remix -Eddy De Clercq & Friends

The Sound Of Durban. Episode 4 – The Raiders

For these series I based my information mainly on the thesis of South African born and Durbanite Lindy van der Meulen, in fulfillment of the degree of Master of Music at the University of Natal. Lindy van der Meulen was also the only woman in a Durban rock band (The Remnant) for a four year period (1989-1992). She currently lives in Durban.

I have also used parts of previously published articles. A lot of information came from the liner notes of records and collected magazines and news papers as well. See the sourceand notes

All music files come from my own collection of the original released vinyl.


The Raiders

a 24-hour beat festival was held at Milner Park, Johannesburg in October 1970. A local newspaper article reported the following:

There were pop fans with long hair, pop fans with short hair, there were girl pop fans and boy pop fans, and they all make up the kaleidoscope of colour which boarded a luxury bus in Durban last night bound for Johannesburg’s first 24-hour beat festival. The beat cult was strangely subdued when they climbed into the bus but they were obviously saving up their enthusiasm for the thundering music which assaulted their eardrums when they arrived at Milner Park – scene of Johannesburg’s ‘Woodstock’ .

The fad for rock festivals (especially the open-air variety) continued into the mid ‘seventies, and seemed to die with the death of the hippy dream in Durban in about 1974. It should be noted that, due to the entrenchment of apartheid policies, rock bands of different races did not play on the same  bills. The separation of population groups under the Group Areas Act resulted in a very segregated residential pattern. Thus, interaction on a cultural basis between population groups was a logistical problem: availability of transport to the city centre at night was difficult unless one owned a private vehicle. Only the whites, who had their own transport, could effectively traverse to areas outside their own communities. Besides this problem were the laws which forbad bands to play to racially mixed audiences, and forbad dancing in a racially mixed group. Such laws were forcibly enforced when necessary, and often this was effected by a large police presence at concerts.

see also The Sound Of Durban. Episode 2 – 1963 to 1973

Despite the mentioned in stifling conditions, Steve Fataar of The Flames reports that a vibrant rock scene flourished in the hotels and clubs of the “coloured” and Indian residential areas of Wentworth, Sydenham, Red Hill, Chatsworth and Phoenix. Although these bands rarely mixed with white bands in public, musicians from these race groups certainly gathered to ‘jam’ and exchange ideas.

one of those Durban colored bands was a guitar-based group performing in the style of The Shadows, the English hit makers who hugely successful in South Africa. In part 5 of these series I will focus on more local colored bands from Durban. Check it out!

The Raiders

The Raiders Go Latin -RAJ 100 released in two cover versions with same track-listing. South Africa 1967

The Raiders -Chez Gaye Special

The Raiders -Exodus

The Raiders -Spanish Eyes
The Raiders -Wonderful Life

The Sound Of Durban. Episode 3 – The Gonks

The Gonks

Another band which is fondly remembered by all who were teenagers in Durban in the late 1960s and early 1970s was The Gonks. The band was formed in July of 1965, and stayed together in various combinations for a period of ten years. The band was named after an ornamental doll, known as a ‘gonk’ which was popular in Britain. This again demonstrates the conscious attempt on the part of Durban youngsters to identify with the British youth culture, rather than forge their own.

see also The Sound Of Durban. Episode 1 – 1965-1970

The Gonks were probably one of the most popular bands, and within two months of forming, landed a three year contract with Gallo Records. The following quote from lead singer Craig Ross demonstrate the popularity of the band, albeit from a biased perspective, as well as the infectious enthusiasm which pervaded the early Durban rock scene:

I can remember playing in the city hall. We played four numbers. It was frightening … there were two thousand people stamping like that in the city hall shouting ‘Gonks! Gonks!’ They didn’t want any other bands. But it was a different vibe man, not like today … the whole thing was like it was busy with bands, it was exciting… Every weekend there was a session, sometimes a Friday and a Saturday, and Tiles was open on a Sunday. Even as an amateur I can remember that at Tiles we used to rush down to the car and turn on to the airplay to see if we had got onto the hit parade. And the night we got on at [L.M Radio] number 20 we rushed upstairs and announced it.

The line-up of The Gonks which recorded their first single (‘You Can’t stop Me Loving You’ and on the flipside, ‘Crying My Heart Out’) in early 1967 was as follows: Craig Ross (lead vocals); Barry Cline (bass guitar); Peter Gilder (drums); Howard Schachat (rhythm guitar); and Mervyn Gershanov (lead guitar) . This single reached Number 1 on the local record charts (L.M. Radio) and Number one on the then Rhodesian charts. It also reached number three on the South African national charts. ‘You Can’t stop Me Loving You’ was followed by the recording of another single in May of 1967, (‘Nobody But Me’ and on the flipside ‘Woman Yeah’) recorded with the same line-up.

Still later in 1967, The Gonks released another single (‘Aint I Met You’), and in 1968, Graeme Beggs produced their last single ‘Hard Lovin” . The Gonks, like most of the popular local bands, played mainly cover versions of chart material. In fact, as far as their singles are concerned, only the flip side numbers were original songs, the A-Sides being reworked covers of songs by other bands. Craig Ross (lead vocalist) was responsible for the writing of their original material during the height of the band’s popularity from 1965-1967. In August of 1967, The Gonks were featured in Teenage Personality with a glowing article:

So far, helped by a legion of loyal supporters, the Gonks have been placed high on the South African Group Hit Parade on L.M. Radio and have now reached the L.M. Top 20 Hit Parade … To hear the Gonks in action is to be hit by a youthquake. Lights play on the boys, glittering on the solid row of four mikes and the tall, serious line-up of Gonks. They don’t seem to kid around much and they don’t go for freak-outs or distortion stuff. For them it’s music that counts, beat that matters, and the presentation must be right if the kids are to have fun. They have big ideas. They won’t remain stock-still letting the world swirl by them. They want to swim upstream to the big fish in the pool of pop and we think they’re going to make quite a splash.

Source; Teenage – Personality, – 31st of August, 1967. Teenage Personality was a weekly supplement produced by Personality Magazine. 

Teenage Personality also released vinyl 45 singles to promote the magazine while launching new South African artists.

The Gonks’ Fan Club

Unique to The Gonks was the formation of a fan club which was run by Helen Trombas and June Elgin, two girls who were fans of the band.

The annual fee for joining the fan club was a mere 20 cents and members of the fan club were issued with GONKY membership cards; a photograph of the band, and a special autograph card. They were sent monthly newsletters and were allocated cheaper rates for concerts and band get-togethers. Lourenco Marques Radio personality, Gerry Wilmot was the honorary president of The Gonks’ Fan Club, which boasted over a thousand members – a remarkable number of fans for a local band. Lead singer, Craig Ross left The Gonks in 1967 to join another well-known Durban band, Freedom’s Children, which was playing at the 505 Club in Johannesburg at the time. Freedom’s Children was a professional band, and the prospect of earning a living by singing in a band was the main draw card for Craig.

His stay with Freedom’s Children, however, was short lived, and within eight months, Craig was back in Durban as a member of The Gonks, which, during his time away had made some changes in personnel. The Gonks now consisted of Rob Clancy (drums), Roger Johnson (bass guitar), Rodney Aichetson (bass guitar), Howard Schachat (rhythm guitar and band leader), and Craig Ross (lead vocals).

The Gonks -released few singles between 1966-1967, and in collaboration “Lazy Life” with Quentin E. Klopjager aka Billy Forrest in 1968 after which the band disbanded.

Quentin E Klopjager & The Gonks -Lazy Life

Quentin E Klopjager & The Gonks -The Long Way Home

All music files come from my own collection of the original released vinyl.

See Also The Sound Of Durban. Episode 2 – 1963 to 1973

For this series I based my information mainly on the thesis of South African born and Durbanite Lindy van der Meulen, in fulfillment of the degree of Master of Music at the University of Natal. Lindy van der Meulen was also the only woman in a Durban rock band (The Remnant) for a four year period (1989-1992). She currently lives in Durban.

A lot of information came from the liner notes of records and collected magazines and news papers as well. See the sourceand notes

In part 4 of this series I will focus on the origins of ROCK MUSIC IN DURBAN 1963-1985.

The Sound Of Durban. Episode 2 – 1963 to 1973

see also The Sound Of Durban. Episode 1 – 1965-1970

For this series I based my information mainly on the thesis of South African born and Durbanite Lindy van der Meulen, in fulfillment of the degree of Master of Music at the University of Natal. Lindy van der Meulen was also the only woman in a Durban rock band (The Remnant) for a four year period (1989-1992). She currently lives in Durban.

I have also used parts of previously published articles. A lot of information came from the liner notes of records and collected magazines and news papers as well. See the sourceand notes

All music files come from my own collection of the original released vinyl.

Apartheid 1948-1990

Apartheid was a system of racial segregation that operated in South Africa between 1948 and 1990. The goal was to separate the whites, who were in the minority, from the local population, the large black and coloured population.

In fact, as early as 1950, the main pillars of apartheid law had been established. These included the Population Registration Act of 1950, the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act of 1949, the 1950 Immorality Act, the Group Areas Act of 1950 and the 1954 Natives Resettlement Act! By the mid-1980s. The liberation movement had spread to all parts of the country, and the international community was pressurizing the South African government to end its undemocratic rule that officially ended in 1990.

The population Registration Act (1950) ‘required that every South African be classified into one of four racial groups, viz; ‘Native’ (later changed to ‘Bantu’), ‘European’ (later ‘White’), ‘Coloured’, or ‘Indian” (later ‘Asian’).

The Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act (1949) prohibited mixed marriages between whites and members of other groups. The 1950 Immorality Act forbade all extra-marital sexual contact between whites and blacks, and contravention of this act was punishable by up to seven years imprisonment.

The Group Areas Act (1950) designated specific urban areas for occupation by particular race groups. This forced hundreds of thousands of people to move against their will.

Separate lanes for non-whites and whites

The segregation of the South African population imposed by Apartheid made conditions unbearable for musicians used to working in multi-racial bands. Clubs which permitted inter-racial mingling were closed down, and people were forcibly removed to different locations. This broke up existing music communities and removed their source of income, and inevitably led to many of South Africa’s best musicians going into exile. In Johannesburg and Cape Town, the famous Sophiatown and District Six were evacuated, destroying the vibrant cultural life that had once existed in these areas. District 6 was the neighborhood known for the tragic forced removals, the forced relocations of more than 60,000 residents in the 1970s, the heyday of Apartheid.


See also remember District 6?

Discrimination and racial separation effectively meant discrimination and musical separation.

Apartheid within the country and isolation from the world provide the framework within which cultural life in South Africa took place. These factors affected the day-to-day lives of rock bands and rock culture in the city of Durban. It was a difficult period for local music: sanctions imposed on South Africa were wide-ranging, and embraced the music industry, preventing the usual exchange of music and bands to a large extent. Thus South African musicians were isolated from the world stage and prevented from the opportunities of experiencing first-hand the rock revolution as it developed.

source; 2 D. Martin, ‘Music Beyond Apartheid?’ (transl. V. Morrison) in Rockin’ the Boat, Mass Music and Mass Movements, ed. R. Garofalo, Boston. South End Press, 1992

few Durban bands -1963 to 1973


Although the original members came from the UK Freedom’s Children is considered as a band from Durban. Their progressive/psychedelic rock music based on Frank Zappa a.o. was revolutionary in South Africa and set the tone for a non-commercial rock scene. The band split up in 1971.

Read more on garage hangover

The term ‘rock’ is used here to refer to that style of popular music which developed out of the rock’n’roll era, and which embodies the tradition of that style. Not referring to musical specifics, but rather to a general field of music which was spawned by the rock’n’roll era. This includes 1960s rock, as well as its later developments into punk rock and metal. It does not include disco, which developed out of the soul tradition. As far as the Durban rock scene is concerned, it also includes the experimental ethnic-rock music which became popular in the 1970s.

The Flames aka The Flame

One of the most influential bands to form in Durban was The Flames, a ‘coloured’ band based in Sydenham (a ‘coloured’ community close to the city centre). The Flames, formed in 1963. The original members included the Fataar brothers (Steve, Brother and Ricky) on guitar (and vocals), bass (and vocals) and drums respectively. Other band members included Eugene Champion (guitar and vocals) and Blondie Chaplin (guitar and vocals). Eugene Champion was later replaced by Edries Fredericks, with Fredericks being replaced by Baby Duval when he left the band in 1966. The Flames recorded their first single in 1964 (‘Nobody Tells Me [What To Do] ‘), and another twelve singles by 1969. They also recorded three albums, and appeared on two other compilation albums during this time. Initially The Flames only played rock’n’roll covers of such songs as those by The Rallies, The Beatles, and Elvis Presley.

In 1968, The Flames were so popular that they went to England where they appeared on television shows (e.g. The Donovan Show) and live shows in London’s Blaises and Revelation rock clubs. Carl Wilson (of the Beach Boys) saw the band at one of these shows, and was so impressed that he invited them to Los Angeles to record at their studio. The Flames spent two and a half years under his wing, and produced the album Flame in 1971 on The Beach Boys’ record label, Brother Records.

The album was produced by Carl Wilson, and ‘See the Light’ (a song from the album), reached the American charts. A Flames fan in England gave The Flames full credit as a professional band after seeing them in a concert in England. He had the following to add to a review in the press: the full, well-balanced sound that they produced was as good as any top group I have seen since coming to England. It was at this moment that I began to realize why Mick Jagger was raving about them, and Paul McCartney has been quoted more than once as saying that they were one of his favorite groups.

The Flames -If You Think You’re Groovy (from the Soulfire!! album)

After a delightful mixture of rock, blues and good old-fashioned pop, The Flames closed their act with their first British single, ‘I See the Light’ which has been released only in the last few days yet is already getting the rave write-ups it so richly deserves. With just enough plays on the radio it could easily become a hit and just imagine the boost that it would give to South African pop music. Meanwhile, in South Africa their fine cover of ‘For Your Precious Love’, written and performed originally in 1958 by American soul group The Impressions with Jerry Butler, became an anthem nationwide and internationally as well.

The Flames -For Your Precious Love (from the Soulfire!! album)


Between 1970 and 1971, The Flames, now known as The Flame, did a concert tour of South Africa, and then toured The United States as a support act for the Beach Boys. It was during their concert tour of South Africa, that The Flame received a high profile in the South African press, and their Durban concerts at Westridge stadium were sell-outs, albeit marred by a high police presence during their performances: The Flame have something which is absent in many local groups. They get through to their audiences. Their communication is incredible. Seldom have I seen a pop group get the audience to their feet and dancing. The only blemish on the Durban concerts was the unfortunate fact that in terms of the government permit to play before White audiences, as a Non-White group, they had to appear on stage first and then leave immediately after playing.


Steve Fataar

In 1972, The Flame broke up and Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataar were invited to join The Beach Boys. The two did so, and remained members until 1973 (as bassist and drummer respectively) when they left to pursue successful individual careers as session musicians in the United States. Of all the members of The Flame, it is perhaps Steve Fataar that has the most prominent place in Durban rock. When The Flame dissolved in 1972, he returned to Durban where he has played with various combinations of local musicians such as Kenny Henson, Roger Lucey and Richard Ellis. In 1978, he formed his own group with his younger brother Issy Fataar, and they later formed the group Smack.

See also The Flames – Soulfire!! South Africa’s soul super group

In part 3 of this series I will focus on more bands and ROCK MUSIC IN DURBAN 1963-1985.

The Sound Of Durban. Episode 1 – 1965-1970

Mission To Mars

to end this terribly unexpected bad year 2020 -annus horribilis- I chose a topic that will seem strange to some readers. The music of Durban, South Africa. Why Durban?

Especially important to me since Durban was my very first encounter with South Africa when I visited the country in 1996. It was also the first time ever to play in South Africa as a DJ at “Mission To Mars”. A big rave held in the Sugar Terminal, in the port of Durban, organised by Dutch and local promoters. Date; November 30th 1996. Location; Sugar Terminal, Maydon Wharf, Durban.

The line-up featured many local DJs like Tich, Mataz from Durban Radio 5FM a.o. Together with other Dutch DJs Remy and Martinez we played for thousands of ravers all night long. To see the sunrise through the doors in the majestic Sugar Terminal, surrounded by thousands of happy smiling dancers, was an incredibly positive experience.

After the change of power in 1994, it was possible in 1996 again to party on such a large scale and to receive foreigners safely in the country, years ahead of major electronic dance festivals such as Ultra today.

The egg shaped building of the enormous Sugar Terminal and the cosmopolitan atmosphere of the city were magic. The crowd of all colors and races, the peaceful atmosphere, a receptive party audience and DJs getting to know each other’s music, the positive impact, have made me fall in love with Durban and South Africa ever since.

Since then I have dived deeply into South African music. I even started this blog to try and understand the unexplored history of South African music. I clearly say try, because there is still so much to discover. Also in the modern contemporary music of the southern part of Africa.

The history of music from Durban, Kwazulu Natal is quite complex to say the least. The city is not only one of the popular seaside resorts and the largest port in South Africa, Durban is best known as the birthplace of Rock in South Africa. Rock music in many guises, from 60s beat, to the hybrid forms in which Indian, English and African musicians created the music that shaped the sound of Durban up until now.

There is so much to report after an enormous amount of research on the music of the past that I decided to make a series of it. Which will appear as five episodes to complete the story. Not a definitive story for sure, but my own interpretation of a unique and little-known sound.

For this series I based my information mainly on the thesis of South African born and Durbanite Lindy van der Meulen. I have also used parts of previously published articles and photos from various websites that are experts in the genre. A lot of information came from the liner notes of records and collected news papers as well. See the sources and notes

All music files come from my own collection of the original released vinyl.


A thesis by Lindy van der Meulen in fulfilment of the degree of Master of Music at the University of Natal. Writer and the only woman in a Durban rock band (The Remnant) for a four year period (1989-1992). Lindy van der Meulen currently lives in Durban.



This study is broadly situated within an historical framework. From the outset, however, I have endeavored to look further than the purely musical aspects of the topic and to attempt to contextualize the music within a broader socio-political framework. Therefore, this thesis examines rock music in Durban within its social, political and cultural context. It also attempts to provide reasons for the changes evident by considering the historical setting which provided the backdrop for life, as well as rock music, in and around the city. Issues such as the effect of apartheid on the local rock scene, the militarization of South African society (the conscription of white males in particular), as well as the transfer of popular subcultures (such as the hippy and punk subcultures) to Durban are specific examples. The musical encoding of these concerns as they are represented in the rock music of the period was also one of the aims of my research.

This thesis has been submitted in fulfilment of the degree of Master of Music at the Universityof Natal. It does not pretend to be a comprehensive study of rock music in Durban. It is merely a start


an introduction to rock music in durban 1963 – 1985


G. Chilvers and T. Jasiukowicz, History of Contemporary Music of South Africa (Braamfontein’ Toga Publishing) 1994.


Eve Boswell in a typical Durban rickshaw 1959 – (from the LP Following The Sun Around)

Durban is South Africa’s biggest port and a famous holiday resort since the early 50s. This gives the city a cosmopolitan flavor. In a sense, Durban embraces foreign cultures and people on a daily basis, especially considering that in the 1960s, passenger liners were still popular as transport between continents. In those days Durban was considered a fairly liberal city which, without the influence of national television, still remained relatively unpolluted by a wide scale acceptance of apartheid policies.

finding an own identity

The transfer of the Hippy subculture to South Africa was also most enthusiastically embraced by the youth of Durban. This again points to the overwhelming influence of ‘overseas’ movements/subcultures on South African youngsters, and their desire to be identified with the youth in Britain. Its message of peace, love and human rights were especially pertinent to a militarised, segregated and undemocratic South African society, and the 1969 Woodstock festival inspired local music organisers to set up similiar events.

The Hippy scene in Durban occurred on a fairly large scale. One of my informants can remember the existence of a shop which sold Hippy memorabilia, and which was the central meeting point for the ‘flower children’, who lined the passage from wall to wall in various degrees of drug-induced states. According to Syd Kitchen, a prominent Durban songwriter and guitarist who was a teenager in Durban in the 1960s, the shop was located in Murchies Passage, an arcade in the center of Durban. In the early 60s 28 venues opened up in Durban which allowed the buying, selling and taking of drugs. An example of such a venue was “Mumbles”. Many band members can recall taking drugs at one stage or another, but admit that it was more to create a certain image than anything else.

Pinetown -pic by Facts About Durban

This driving desire to present an image which coincided with the ‘overseas’ scene is another example of how important it was to Durban youngsters to look and feel part of a worldwide movement, even when South Africa had been isolated from the world. It is painfully obvious that the youth of Durban (at this stage) did not want to find their own identity or create their own ‘scene’. They wanted to be accepted by the world and appropriating the Hippy movement was one way of showing solidarity with youth all over the world, and particularly, with British youth.

the Durban Rock Scene 1965-1970

Tiles -lee men ltd -advert sent in by Lorna Thomopoulos to Facts About Durban

Perhaps one of the biggest indications of the growth of rock music in the city was the mushrooming of new venues to cater for the bands and audiences which played and supported rock music. Venues such as Journey’s End (in Durban North), Tiles, and Scene 70 opened up, and ‘sessions ‘held at these venues are fondly remembered by fans and band members alike as the highlight of their youth.

The name sesssions was used to refer to an evening (or afternoon) in which a number of bands would play, and audience members would dance and socialise. A more recent South African equivalent would be a ‘jorl’.

There were, in fact, more clubs flourishing in Durban from 1965 to 1972 than there are at present. Furthermore, live (as opposed to recorded) music was the order of the day. It has been reported that it was not unusual for as many as a thousand young Durbanites to pack into a venue for a ‘session’ which would feature only local bands.

Durban has been the center of rock music in South Africa at various stages in the time period 1963 – 1975. Many famous rock bands and musicians emerged from Durban especially in the mid 1960s and the early 1970s. The chosen time period to consider is another issue which is necessary to discuss. The starting point, 1963, was the year in which important early Durban rock bands began to come to prominence – bands like The Flames, The Gonks, The Third Eye, and The Mods, The Wild Things. Most of these bands formed in the early and mid-1960s and were well-known on the local scene. Here are a few of the most famous and influential that managed to release records on local and major labels.

The Raiders

The Raiders were a very popular local band, hired for private functions in the Indian, Colored and African communities of Durban. Their music was mainly guitar-led instrumental pop in the style of The Shadows with some Bollywood type influences. The band released 3 known LP’s and a few singles on the RAJ label between 1967-1969

The Third Eye was a psychedelic rock band that released few albums between 1968-1970 and a handful singles. Produced by Billy Forrest

The Mods -not much is known about this obscure band, other then their only released single in 1967 on the South African Parlophone label.

The Wild Things

The Wild Things was a popular South African rock/soul/rhythm & blues group performing mainly in the Durban area. The group consisted of Lincoln (Ballie) Abrahams, Rudy Johnson, Peter (Pluto) Davids, Tony Joseph (Joe) Fynn and Edwin (Tich) Jean-Pierre. Blondie Chaplin performed with the group before joining The Flames. The Wild Things recorded two albums “Soul” and “Suddenly” in 1968 and 1969

See also The Flames – Soulfire!! South Africa’s soul super group

In episode 2 of this series I will focus on more local bands and the political and social consequences of the Apartheid system that dominated the music scene in the early 1960s.

Merry Christmas to all readers!


Office Party. Stay At Home Party. 2020 Yuletide Party Mix

Whatever you call it, this mix is for you. To celebrate the countdown to 2021….dreaming of better days.

10 classic Kwaito-Boogie tunes from my personal collection of original South African vinyl, released 1984-1990.

Classic tunes that still shine….

see also August Mix Special! From Bubblegum 2 Kwaito

cover girl Lupita Nyong’o