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Nokwe - a true mentor

By unknown | Jun 13, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Sechaba Molefe

Sechaba Molefe

"He was not only a performer, he was a manager, a tutor and a mentor."

This is the description of Alfred Nokwe as painted by theatrical director Jerry Pooe. Nokwe, a historical figure in the Durban entertainment scene, died on June 2 at KwaMashu, aged 73.

He was born in Durban on April 1 1935.

He grew up in Cato Manor, or rather Umkhumbane as it was originally known.

His birthplace was his inspiration to write the play Uvukile Umkhumbane (Umkhumbane has Risen).

A true mentor, his protégés include Mbongeni Ngema and Leleti Khumalo.

His path in entertainment started at the age of 17 when he played trumpet for the municipal brass band until he switched to drums. In 1959 he started his own group, The Rockets.

He managed the play Umabatha (Zulu Macbeth). As manager he sent the cast on a tour, which was a great success locally and in the UK.

In 1977, at the Colosseum Theatre in Johannesburg, it sold out. In 1995 Umabatha ran at the Johannesburg Civic Theatre under his management. Nokwe also managed Ladysmith Black Mambazo in Germany on their first overseas tour in 1981.

He also acted in the TV drama Ifa LakwaMthetwa, for which he was nominated for an Astera Award for best performance. He also starred in Shaka Zulu in 1986 and Cry, The Beloved Country in 1995.

In 1954 he met his wife, Patty Masuku, an opera singer who was dubbed "The Marion Anderson of Africa." Their union proved truly melodic as they brought into the world a legacy of a family of artists. His daughter Tu is a prominent musician. Another daughter, Marilyn, was a backing singer for Mango Groove. His granddaughter is Idols finalist Ayanda.

eThekwini Municipality has honoured Nokwe at the eThekwini Living Legends Project Awards.

Nokwe is survived by his wife Patty, four children - Marilyn, Tu, Poto and Wake and 14 grandchildren.

He has indeed touched many people with his artistic endeavours.


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