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Learn and Teach speaks to Sakhile

Learn and Teach spoke to Sipho Gumede. He plays for a band called Sakhile. The other members of Sakhile are: Khaya Mahlangu, Menyatso Mathole, Themba Mkhize, Madoda Mathunjwa and Mabi Thobejane.

Learn and Teach: What does the word Sakhile mean? Sipho: Sakhile is a Zulu word. The word means “We have built”. There are so many bands these days. But Sakhile’s music belongs to Sakhile. We play our own music. We have built our own music

Learn and Teach: When did Sakhile start? Sipho: Sakhile started in February last year.

Learn and teach: How did Sakhile start? Sipho: Khaya Mahlangu and I played for a band called ‘Spirits Rejoice’. But we wanted to play different music. So we decided to start another band. We looked for guys who played our kind of music. We were lucky. We found the right guys.

Learn and Teach: What kind of music does Sakhile play? Sipho: Our music is a mixture of old and new. We play traditional music our fathers played. And we mix it with modern music.

Learn and Teach: What other bands does Sakhile like? Sipho: We like a band in America called ‘Weather Report’. We also like a group in South Africa called the Malopoets. And we must not forget Hugh Masekela. I think he is the greatest musician in the world.

Learn and Teach: Sakhile plays for free to help workers. Why do you do this? Sipho: Yes, we do help the workers. Sometimes the workers need money more than we do. We believe the workers struggle is our struggle. We will help the workers whenever they need us.

Learn and Teach: What workers have you helped? Sipho: We have helped the workers from the Wilson Rowntree factory in East London. And we have helped the workers from the Huletts Sugar factory in Pietermaritzburg. These workers were not treated fairly.

Learn and Teach: What are Sakhile’s plans? Sipho: We want to make a record soon. And then we want to visit other countries. We want to visit Africa, Europe and America. But we will come back. South Africa is our home.

Learn and Teach: Most people think that musicians have a good life. Is this true? Sipho: We have some good times. But we work very hard. Some of us have big families to look after. People are always watching us. We don’t want to mess things up.


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