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PHUZEKHEMISI AT EKURHULENI (article first published : 2002-09-24)

The Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality will present a special Heritage Festival today (September 24) from 11h00 to 16h00 at the Sinaba Stadium in Daveyton with a special appearance by the KZN artist Phuzekhemisi.

Phuzekhemisi is undoubtedly the South African hero of the musical genre masakanda. His social commentary through music has successfully managed to promote the genre internationally and he has succeeded in seducing audiences in France, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden and Finland. He is among the very few musicians from KZN to draw on the social ills that plague his villagers.

A musician struggling to unearth the feelings of his villagers who are not yet free from the grip of chiefs, Phuzekhemisi first burst on the music scene with his brother Khethani. It was the album Imbizo that announced the duo's arrival on the scene. This album went on to sell 100,000 copies and it was extremely popular with his villagers who felt that the song expressed their sentiments.

Although their music was IsiZulu, that did not confine them to KZN and hostels. It spread like a "fever" and Imbizo, which was a title track became a regular feature at street bashes and music festivals. Sadly the chiefs did not take kindly to their music, particularly hostel leaders.

The musicians were barred from most hostels in the township. But that didn't deter the thousands of fans from buying their music and their popularity grew. They dished out their second album, Emaphalamende in 1993. The album featured the hugely popular song Udlayedwa.

Like Imbizo, this hit song irritated the chiefs. In the song they lament about the fact that some villagers have to pay taxes for their dogs. They cheekily pose the question that if they pay for the dog's tax will it then qualify for pension?




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