By Constance van Niekerk in SA
KHAKHENI Qebe, a South African jazz artist is organising a concert dubbed, ‘International One Song One People Concert Tour’. According to Khakheni, his roots are in Lesotho where he was born before moving to Soweto in South Africa.
“My people are called the Baphuthi. They are isolated but, initially were the first settlers in the now Lesotho. The Baphuthi are all over South Africa.”
“I am a product of the Dorkey House Music School of the 80s. I hail from Meadowlands Soweto. I am a composer, writer, singer, dancer, instrumentalist and a facilitator of arts skills development around schools,” says Khakheni.
“But I started music way back, in 1985 to be precise, but with backyard bands. In 1986 I laid my first demo which got stolen in Orlando, Soweto. To date I only have one album released but between 10 and 20 guaranteed waiting.”
“I personally experienced Xenophobia in 2012 while in Lesotho launching this event. Basotho whom I asked to lend a hand decided to rob me of all the money over and above R200 000, defrauded in tickets. I was labelled a foreigner in my country of origin.”
After this traumatising experience in Lesotho, Khakheni decided to address awareness issues and others related to Xenophobia in the music industry. He made the decision to do this through dialogue, workshops and a music concert.
Xenophobia can paralyse the music industry. This became obvious following April/ May attacks of 2015 which led to retaliatory actions against South African artists. Suddenly shows by South Africa artists were boycotted in other parts of Africa, and the entire world as well. Artists in the country from other countries postponed their shows because of the xenophobic attacks while others cancelled their shows altogether for fear of being attacked. Concerts by South African artists in other countries were also cancelled. Such abortive tours included those of Black Coffee, Big Nuz and Kelly Khumalo. Two Zimbabwean artists were killed during the xenophobia attacks in Diepsloot. Zambia blocked the playing of music by South African artists in protest against the xenophobic attacks.
The International (#Xenophobia must fall) One Song One People Concert Tour 2015 will be held on the 4th of December at The Bannister Hotel in Braamfontein, Johannesburg from 6pm till late. Artists billed to perform are Atheha London, Thandeka, Pappa Makhene of the legendary 1970s duo Blondie & Papa, Mabeleng Moholo and music producer and singer, South African based Chris Kele from Malawi. Chris, a guitarist of repute is the one who produced Bra Hugh Masekela’s ‘Phola’ album. He also recorded and composed for Ringo among his many accolades. Chris says, “I personally call my type of music ‘Africulture Jazz’.