Maskandi fest to rock KZN

THE first ever concert to unite and honour maskandi legends - living and dead - takes place in KwaZulu-Natal at the weekend.

Maskandi legend Sibokwakhe Myandu, aka Phuzekhemisi, is one of the artists who will be honoured for his contribution to the genre.

The concert, billed as the Ugu 2010 Maskandi Music Festival, takes place in Port Shepstone on Sunday. It will honour maskandi artists for their role in taking maskandi to where it is today.

Phuzekhemisi welcomed the concert, saying it was time people were honoured. He says his journey has been a mixture of pain and success.

"I was accused of the death of Mfazomnyama, a good friend. My life was in danger and I had to leave Johannesburg and return home to KwaZulu-Natal. I feel absolutely safe here, away from the politics and infighting."

He says that every time a maskandi artist dies, there is finger-pointing and accusations of witchcraft.

"I had a shop operating there (Joburg). I did not even attend his funeral - things were so tense that other colleagues tipped me off not to attend the funeral because I was being accused of his death."

Phuzekhemisi says that though relocating to KwaZulu-Natal has given him peace of mind, there are fewer job opportunities as Johannesburg is where everything happens.

"The people that accused me have not apologised for the pain they caused me," he says.

"What I have learnt from all this is that people will always talk of who killed who and who was bewitching who.

"In all these years it has not taken us anywhere."

The conflicts between artists have always been about one accusing another of copying another's style of music. Mgqumeni accused Mtsengiseni Ngcwensa of copying his music.

When Mqgumeni died after a short illness, fingers were pointed at Ngwensa, accusing him of witchcraft.

There was also a disagreement between Thoko-zani Langa and Bhekumuzi Luthuli, who died earlier this year.

Artists billed for the concert include Phuzekhemisi, Imithente, Izintombi ZikaMjaphane, Mfiliseni Magubane, Amageza, Shabalala Rhythm, Thokozani Langa Ichwane Lebhaca, Zero Khumalo, and others.