Phehello J Mofokeng
A Note to Taiwa: Reflective Essay on the Music of Moses Molelekwa
Moses Molelekwa’s music and legacy on SA music industry is celebrated in Phehello J. Mofokeng’s new book – A Note to Taiwa, A Reflective Essay on the Music of Moses Taiwa Molelekwa.
“Moses Taiwa Molelekwa is our jazz renaissance man” opens the new book by the culture and music writer Phehello J Mofokeng. Molelekwa’s jazz virtuosity and effect on the landscape of music in South Africa at the turn of the century is celebrated by Mofokeng in his new book, A Note to Taiwa – A Reflective Essay on Moses Molelekwa. Mofokeng’s in-depth analysis is essential because it adds to the knowledge, celebration and interrogation of the legacy of the genius. The book’s enquiry focuses on Molelekwa’s first album – the aptly titled; Finding One’s Self – it then focuses on what Mofokeng calls Molelekwa’s swansong, the height and epitome of his musical achievements, a song called Nobuhle. Finally, this ‘sonic inquiry’ is extended to Molelekwa’s stylistics affecting kwaito music in the 1990s and 2000s until today, in a genre known as Amapiano.
Mofokeng tries to explain that Molelekwa’s music points to something bigger than himself – that music was a way of “pouring his angst and ecstasy on the piano.” “It is not in one lifetime that one becomes a musician; you know …” Molelekwa is quoted.
“I have been obsessed with Nobuhle for as long as I can remember the first time I heard it,” Mofokeng says in his book. This is after seeing and hearing Molelekwa perform in Johannesburg before he passed away. Mofokeng holds a grudge against himself for not paying attention to Moses Molelekwa’s music then and watching him perform as many times as was possible.
Moses Molelekwa passed away in 2001 in an apparent suicide. His wife, Florence Mtoba, was found lifeless next to him. Their case remains open if not unsolved. A Note to Taiwa is Mofokeng’s second book on music culture. His first book is Sankomota: An Ode in One Album.
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