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NORMAN MLUNGISI MKHIZE (article first published : 2002-03-22)

Norman Mlungisi Mkhize was born towards the south of Durban in the Cavendish area and this is where he grew up and went to school. His parents later moved to KwaMashu where his mother and brothers still reside. In the 60ís he worked for the Natal Performing Arts Council (Napac) before leaving for England in 1971 where he was apprenticed to a piano reconditioner.

He now runs a piano renovation business in London and was awarded a Certificate of Merit for renovating Buckingham Palaceís ancient piano/harpsichord. The matter received so much publicity in England that the BBC did a documentary on Normanís life.

His fame spread far and wide and he was generally reputed to be one of the best piano renovators in the UK. He rubs shoulders with concert pianists who are so fussy with their instruments that under normal circumstances, they would not let anybody else touch their pianos. They completely trust Norman.

Through his field of work, he has gathered among his personal friends a circle of professional musicians. Some of these friends have toured South Africa among other countries and the subject of discussion often turns to the state of concert pianos in South Africa. They speculate much about how strong a part the weather plays in the poor state of most of these instruments.

Out of these discussions came the idea that someone with Normanís skills was urgently required in South Africa. This prompted Norman to offer a South African from the previously disadvantaged background free training and accommodation in his home in England.

Further details from Alfred Nokwe on 031 503-4417 or 082 477-3867 or e-mail alfnokwe@mweb.co.za




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