New volume 3 -Township Jive & Kwela Jazz (1960-1965) available now!

 180 grams vinyl, CD

A limited amount of ‘Township Jive & Kwela Jazz (1960-1965) volume 3’ in both LP -180 grams vinyl and deluxe CD formats -is now available  for readers of this blog exclusively.

20 euro including S&H as Registered Airmail (+track&trace/barcode) Worldwide!

PayPal account required. Volume 1 and 2 also available.

So here it is! Soul Safari is proud to announce the release of our third compilation in collaboration with the  International Library of African Music (ILAM), Grahamstown, South Africa.

16 rare gems of Township Jive & Kwela Jazz from South Africa recorded between 1960-1965.

Official date of release; October 31st 2014


180 grams vinyl LP -Catalog nr. UP 2014.006LP

Buy Now Button

 CD -Catalog nr. UP 2014.006CD

Buy Now Button

Soul Safari started as a blog to showcase the music of Africa with a strong emphasis on South Africa. Now in its 6th year, Soul Safari is proud to present the third volume of the compilation ‘Township Jive & Kwela Jazz’, a collection of rare gems originally released as shellac 78’s in the period 1960-1965 in South Africa.

On this third volume the selection features the gorgeous close harmony vocal groups singing in the tradition of American R & B and doo wop. But always with that typical South African swing and sung in the Zulu or Xhosa languages. DJ Eddy de Clercq who initiated this compilation in close collaboration with ILAM, also selected a few tunes that stand for the transition from early jive to mbanqaga, a most democratic vocal style characterized by the typical ‘groaning’, a form of call and answer between the male leader (groaner) and female singers. Mbanqaga would follow up jive as the popular vocal music from 1965 onwards.
Kwela jazz knew many variations in which the original instrument, the penny whistle was traded in for accordion, violin, even a melodica, an instrument that also became widely popular in Jamaica. Similarities with uptempo ska can be heard in tunes by Kid Ma Wrong Wrong and Bra Sello featured on this compilation. Again an exciting selection of rare recordings from the heyday of South African Jive & Kwela. Truly music treasures from a long gone past.

All recordings were prepared and mastered from the original 78rpm shellac discs from the ILAM archives. The goal was to clear the dust and dirt of ages gone by, while preserving the original dynamics of the recordings and to keep the sound as little altered as possible.


 iTunes downloads

Soul Safari presents Township Jive & Kwela Jazz (1960-1965)-Volume 3

Side A

01.    Ngibosen Twist -Telegram Specials   (1965)   02:20

02.    Izwe Liyasha – The Young Stars (1965)        02:48

03.    Ulowa – The Young Stars   (1965)                 02:29

04.    Intogeymy  -The Lower Buttons  (1964)       02:23

05.    Nylon -The Lower Buttons (1964)                 02:53

06.    Kudala Ngizula -Cowboy Superman & His Cowboy Sisters  (1960)        02:15

07.    Manka Binde -Que Sisters (1962)                02:46

08     Nice Time -Que Sisters      (1962)                02:41

Side B

01. Mangothobane -Flying Jazz Queens (1965)                 02:17

02.  Wamuhle Lomfana -Flying Jazz Queens     (1965)       02:26

03.   Unjak’ Upelile -Izintombi Zesi Manje Manje          (1965)        02:2

04.  Five Two Six -Kid Ma Wrong Wrong (1965)                 02:22

05.  Gumba Gumba 800-Kid Ma Wrong Wrong (1965) 02:22

06.   Seven Stitches -Kid Ma Wrong Wrong (1965)                 02:23

07.  Rock Phata 1001-Kid Ma Wrong Wrong with the SDV Swing Band (1965)    02:39

08.  Lulu Part 4 –Bra Sello (1960) 02:24


This compilation ℗ + © 2014 Ubuntu Publishing. All rights reserved

 Marketed by Ubuntu Publishing. Distributed by Rush Hour-Amsterdam, Nieuwe Zijdsvoorburgwal 130 B, 1012ST Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Check out our other releases

Township Jive & Kwela Jazz Volume 1(1940-1960)

Soul Safari Township Jive Kwela Jazz 24 juni 11

Buy Now Button

 Township Jive & Kwela Jazz Volume 2

TownshipJiveKwelaJazzVol2 front

Buy Now Button

cowboy superman & his cowboy sisters -label kudala ngizula

latest record finds -October 2013 USA

my last safari through the concrete jungle of cities like New York City and Philadelphia generated a lot of great finds, not just African music but a few  interesting otherwordly records as well. What about The Afro-Latin Soultet ‘Wild!’, a truely rare jazz-soul gem rarely seen in the wild.

Best catch of this safari must be the American release of Spokes Mashiyane’s  LP ‘King Kwela’, recorded during his  first US live tour,  The Boyoyo Boys ‘Back In Town’, Josef Marais, and Dorothy Masuka ‘Pata Pata’ as runner up… maybe not the holy grails I was looking for in the first place but still a decent selection of music from the African diaspora that I like to share with you. More info and mp3 files in coming posts….and my experience of diggin’ in Philadelphia will be revealed shortly.

the afro-latin soultet -wild! gecomp

abdullah ibrahim- water from an ancient well gecomp

see also SA Jazz -Abdullah Ibrahim speaks! Staffrider interview with poet Hein Willemse NYC Dec 1986

boyoyo boys -back in town gecomp

see also David Thekwane & The Boyoyo Boys -Township Jive 1977

dorothy masuka -pata pata gecomp

see also South African Soul Divas pt 2 Dorothy Masuka, Mahotella Queens, Irene & The Sweet Melodians

hi-life intl -gecomp josef marais -songs of the african veld gecomp

see also the Bleached Zulu

majuba ost -gecomp

rare South African OST ‘Majuba’. I will review this LP shortly

next stop soweto vol 3 gecomp

ah…all the essential and most collectable Cape Jazz holy grails on a double album, released by Strut Records in 2010.

phezulu eqhudeni -gecomp rochereau tabu ley & l'african fiesta vol 2 gecomp spokes mashiyane -king kwela gecomp tabu ley babeti soukous gecomp

David Thekwane & The Boyoyo Boys -Township Jive 1977

David Thekwane is a South African saxophone player who was equally working as a producer. He became most succesful with his productions for The Movers, mainly destined for the African Soul market and based on the music of American idols like Percy Sledge, Wilson Pickett and Booker T & The MG’s.

Flatint  has an excellent discography and bio of The Movers so I refer to that page for more info.

David Thekwane also produced numerous other South African artists working in the same field with less success but nevertheless, good music came out of these collaborations . The most famous names include the Flaming Souls, The Mabone Boys and the Soul Throbs to name a few. Not exactly household names but these days their work has been rediscovered by UK based labels like Strut. Do check out the wonderful compilation Next Stop… Soweto Vol. 2: Soul, Funk & Organ Grooves From The Townships 1969-1976 ( STRUT057LP) 2010 Strut.

Today’s post focuses on two productions by David Thekwane with the Boyoyo Boys. Both singles were released respectively on Plastik Records in 1976 and 1977 and feature accordeon jive and sax jive. David Thekwane plays the saxophone himself on this rare SA released 45 single. Enjoy!

Boyoyo Boys -Lekker Krap (1977)

Boyoyo Boys -Son Op (1977)

David Thekwane & The Boyoyo Boys -Malombo Jive (1976)

David Thekwane & The Boyoyo Boys -Skeleton Beat (1976)

The African Dance Band of the Cold Storage Commission of Southern Rhodesia

Over the weekend I spent quite a happy moment going back to the contents of my Karoo-box. A few original 78’s have been on my turntable ever since. Here is a true classic that I like to share; ‘Skokiaan’. Among the artists who recorded the song are Louis Armstrong, Bill Haley, Herb Alpert, Brave Combo, and Hugh Masekela. See also 16 skokiaan versions

The African Dance Band of the Cold Storage Commission of Southern Rhodesia

A-side –Skokiaan

B-side –In the Mood

Recorded in 1947

Writer August Musarurwa

Genre Tsaba-Tsaba

released as DECCA FM 6142 South Africa, year unknown.

“Skokiaan” was first recorded as a sax and trumpet instrumental by the African Dance Band of the Cold Storage Commission of Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) under leadership of Musarurwa, possibly in 1947. The band comprised two saxophones, two banjos, traps, and a bass. Several tunes played by the Cold Storage Band were recorded by ethnomusicologist Hugh Tracey in June 1951. On Tracey’s recording, Musarurwa also apparently played for the Chaminuka Band. Musarurwa copyrighted “Skokiaan”, probably in 1952.

Within a year of its 1954 release in South Africa, at least 19 cover versions of “Skokiaan” appeared. The Rhodesian version reached No 17 in the United States, while a cover version by Ralph Marterie climbed to No 3. All versions combined propelled the tune to No 2 on the Cash Box charts that year. Its popularity extended outside of music, with several urban areas in the United States taking its name.

the full wiki-story of the origins of the song + charts here

West Nkosi Nabashokobezi -Sax Jive

For a period of fifteen years during the 1960’s and well into the 70’s, solo sax jives enjoyed an enormous popularity throughout the entire southern African subcontinent. The melodies were always simple but catchy and were carried by the saxophone, usually in conjunction with a guitar, violin, accordion or electric organ. A tight rhythm section underpinned the lead instruments using a drum kit and electric bass and often electric guitar as well.

Nkosi was one of the most succesful and influential sax players of that era. He toured continously, usually together with the Makhona Tsohle Band and the Mahotella Queens, and scored an impressive list of hit records. His music was made from different rhythms to suit all tribes living in South Africa. He took a little from each tribe, like Shangaans, Zulus, Pedis, Tswanas, Swazis, Xhosas, you name it…all their traditional rhtyhms. He took a little bit from each individual tribe and put a very strong beat on it. That alone gave his music a unique sound.

Makhona Tshohle Band in 1967

Then he used the real (western) drum and bass guitar to tighten up his music. He was one of the first people to have bought a western style bass guitar. Nkosi wanted to create his own thing, not music that was influenced by Cliff Richard, The Beatles and Rock & Roll. No, he aimed at entertaining his own people. He wanted to create more sounds for the African people…to introduce something new because technology was coming up and very influential in those days. A lot of people started buying decent hi-fi sets, no more wind-up gramophones.

West Nkosi Nabashokobezi -Two Mabone 1973

The music was the only weapon where people could be relieved within their feelings, also for the oppression that they had. The music was the only thing that could heal all those problems. If someone listens to the music, then automatically they start forgetting about their problems, get themselves enjoying that music. At the same time, the music had some sort of information towards the black people that they should be patient, things will be allright. It was this feeling that West Nkosi rapped about in his music. Like listen to ‘Two Mabone’, there’s a rap there. Those raps were designed in a way that black people could understand the message of what the musicians were talking about. Some of the rapping was to advertise the actual product, but some of the message was saying ‘wake up, open your eyes…look at the future, see what’s happening’.

West Nkosi and his sax -Dubaduba 1966

West Nkosi and his sax -Cowboy 1967

West Nkosi also wrote and produced his own material for other acts after 1970. Here’s one from 1982, it’s recorded for the Mavuthela group called ‘Nansi Lentombi’ and ‘Sewuyahamba Uyangishiya’ by Amaswazi Emvelo.

text based on an interview with West Nkosi 1967

from West Nkosi -original sax jive hits -GMP CDZAC 57 1991 South Africa

thanks to  friendly Matsuli for the photo of Makhona Tsohle Band in 1967

Isaac ‘Zacks’ Nkosi

Spread out north of the city of Johannesburg is one of the oldest and funkiest townships in the country –Alexandra. History has it that an Afrikaner farmer once bought a number of farms around the modern day township. One of the farms, Zandfontein, became Alexandra Township in 1912. Alexandra produced some of South Africa’s music legends like Ntemi Piliso, Lemmy Mabaso, Zacks Nkosi and many others.

Isaac Zacks Nkosi

Isaac ‘Zacks’ Nkosi was a legendary saxophonist who composed many songs.

His popular band was City Jazz Nine, which boasted the talent of former members of the Jazz Maniacs. He had his own way of blowing the horn to create a unique African Jazz sound. “Our Kind of Jazz” (Gallo Records, 1975) was produced by Hamilton Nzimande and is a classic example of his originality.

“Kwasibasa” is a  tune  Zacks Nkosi recorded for CBS in the 60’s.  A-side “Left turn”,  with infantry style horns and a funky marching drumband.

Zacks Nkosi -Kwasibasa

Zacks Nkosi -Left Turn



In addition to jazz, mbaqanga (the name derives from Zulu, meaning something like steamed maize bread’) has become a style which has given South African music a direction. It is a blend of various styles, of which American jazz; the marabi and the kwela are the most important. Founded in the 1950s, mbaqanga soon took on a political dimension. Songs such as Azikwelwa (‘We won’t ride) supported the bus boycott of 1957 in Alexandra, while the removals in Sophiatown (which started at the beginning of February 1955 and took five years to complete) were sharply criticized in Bye, Bye Sophiatown and Asibadali (‘We won’t pay rent’), songs which were promptly banned on radio by the SABC, although black disc jockeys tried to get them on the air anyway. Mbaqanga became the pride of the urban blacks in the townships.

Michael Xabu (who gave the name mbaqanga to this type of music), Isaac ‘Zacks’ Nkosi and Elijah Nkwanyane formed the cornerstone of the mbaqanga. See my other post on African Jazz composer and trumpet player Elijah Nkwanyane.

excerpt from an original article “A reflection on music” by Jonas Gwangwa and Fulco van Aurich