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Sipho Hotstix Mabuse: A South African Legend Whose Music Spans Generations

The history of South Africa and its jazz scene is well told through the life of Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse, a huge talent, who continues to influence musicians of all ages. Inspired by music as an agent of change, he gravitated toward it during his youth in the townships, and he has continued to shape the jazz genre for the past 50 years. Part of Soweto’s hunger for change was an appreciation for music, and especially jazz and the more conscious American soul artists. “Nina Simone blew me away,” Mabuse recalled. Things started when some boys from another school joined Orlando West High for their final exams. Guitarists Selby Ntuli and Alec Khaoli were already creating original music and aspiring to emulate what were called the “township soul” bands of the late 1960s, who borrowed their sartorial style from Stax and Motown, identified their own experiences of oppression with the mood of US Black Power, and crafted lyrics in all African languages spoken on the streets.