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“Soul brother number one”

The story of Cocky Two BuII

One night, 44 years ago, a woman gave birth to a son in Alexandra Township. Her name was Mrs Thlothlalemaje.

The family was very excited. They talked about a name for the boy. They talked for a long time. Every­ body had a different name for the boy.

The boy’s grandfather was very proud of his grandson. He wanted to give his grandson a perfect name. He went outside to think about it.

The grandfather saw a big shadow near the veranda. He went closer to have a look. His two bulls were sitting together. They were facing east.

The grandfather laughed. He had found the perfect name. He called the family outside.

“I have found the name,” he said. “Cocky two bulls – facing the east ­ Thlothlalemaje. But lets just call the boy Pohopedi !” Pohopedi means two bulls.

People always asked Pohopedi how he got his name. They always laughed when they heard the story. They started calling him Cocky Two Bull.

Little Cocky Two Bull grew up in Alexandra Township. In those days, Alexandra was a good place for a child to grow up. The people in the township were like a big family. Everybody knew everybody else. When Cocky lay in bed at night, he knew all the voices outside.

Cocky played in the street with the other children. Cocky’s best friend lived across the road. His name was Hugh Masekela.

Cocky and Hugh played together. They liked one game best of all. They played old tin guitars and banged on old tins. And they sang. All the children came to watch.

One day Cocky went home after playing with his friends. He walked into the house. The house was very quiet. Cocky knew something was wrong.

“The Peri Urban Police said we must move to Soweto,” said Cocky’s mother. Cocky did not understand. He was only 10 years old.

Then Cocky found a new love ­ acting. He started acting at school. He acted in many school plays.

Cocky went to Dorkay House In Johannesburg for acting lessons. At Dorkay House he met Hugh Masekela again. And he met lots of other young people. He met people like Mirriam Makeba, Kippie Moeketsi, “King Force” Silgee, Zakes Nkosi and Dolly Rathebe.

Cocky was happy. But his parents were not happy. They did not want him to act. They said he was wasting his time. They said he will never make a living from acting.

Cocky worked very hard after he left school. He wanted to show his parents that they were wrong. Cocky acted in plays all over South Africa.

In 1964 Cocky went to America. He went with a play called “Sponono”. This play was the first South African play to go to America.

In America, Cocky met some great people. He met people like Les McCann, Langston Hughes arid Sidney Poitier. These people were good to him. They showed him around.

Cocky stayed overseas for a long time. He acted in films for television. And he acted in other big films like “Killer Force”, “Game for VuItures” and “Dingaka”.

But Cocky was homesick. He missed his family and friends. So he came home. He went back to Dorkay House. He helped young actors.

Then five years ago, some people came to see Cocky. They told him they were starting a new radio station. The radio station was called Swazi Radio (SR). They needed a D.J. They offered Cocky the job.

Cocky took the job. And he was good – really good. He called himself “SouI Brother number one”. And everbody agrees. He is number one.

Cocky still works for Radio S.R. And on weekends he works for Channel 702. So when you are bored, turn on the radio and listen to Cocky Two Bull. He will make you put your hands together. And you will feel like dancing all night. If Cocky’s grandfather is still around, he must feel very proud.


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