Despite the limitations that apartheid put on black South African musicians, and in fact sometimes because of it, there still exist a fair number of local musicians whose names are familiar with music fans, both in South Africa and abroad. But sadly this is not true in the case of Ndikho Xaba, our Legend of the Month for July. Many South Africans will never even have heard the name Ndikho Xaba, who truly is one of our country’s greatest musical talents!

Part of this has to do with the fact that Xaba went into exile in 1964, only returning to South Africa in 1998, but perhaps Xaba’s anonymity was also influenced by the fact that he wasn’t your conventional mainstream musician. Talking about the Xaba in the recently released documentary, SHWABADA: The Music of Ndikho Xaba, a friend comments, “He’s much more than a musician, Ndikho is into things that are happening in outer space. He’s an inventor”.

Sadly Xaba is no longer performing due to his suffering from Parkinson’s disease, but his music lives on. The much sought after album, Ndikho Xaba and the Natives, was re-released by Matsuli Music in 2015.

Image of Ndikho Xaba courtesy of news.artsmart.co.za