I discovered this collection through a local South African dealer who had no interest in the music. He was actually cleaning out his garage and ready to throw out a few boxes of singles he had purchased from a local township radio station…vinyl from the 50’s to the 90’s. During the South African Apartheid days a strict censorship was applied upon all media. Black music stayed within the confines of townships, church and local radio.
Radio stations also had to endure censorship by apartheid laws, everyday records became subject and songs on vinyl that were not meeting the standards were simply scratched with a nail by the authorities…imagine, a 45 with one approved side and one side so badly scratched that it was impossible to listen to the music or words…. Not only black music suffered from this practice but also the regular white music that was released or imported into South Africa.
I have saved and restored most of the singles in this collection. The original songs in their full length will be featured the coming months on these pages…
for the Dark City Sisters, four is a significant number. The group consists of four women who have been around the music scene for four decades.
The group (Francisca Mngomezulu, Ester Khoza, Hilda Mogapi and Joyce Mogatusi) has proved that in the music industry sometimes perseverance breeds success. This female mbaqanga group was formed in 1958, and has been through so many obstacles that one wonders what kept them going through all these years.
The group enjoyed success during the mid-60s, travelling as far afield as Zambia and Mozambique. In 1964 Caroline Carpenter replaced Hilda Mogapi. But Carpenter stayed for only a year, rejoining the Sisters 19 years later, after a successful career with the Mahotela Queens. A couple of years later another Mahotela Queen member, Emily Zwane joined the Sisters.
By 1984 two original group members had passed away. Mogatusi, the only original surviving member, kept recruiting in spite of all these disheartening hindrances. Talk about women power.
excerpts from an original article by the Johannesburg News Agency
little is known about the artists on these following 45’s that it is hard to write up any stories on the artists or their whereabouts…although I will try to locate and share any information that is available….so for the moment let’s enjoy the music…