I ambitiously as a kid in the 80’s, like any kid would do, tried to play the beautiful cream coloured battery powered Yamaha keyboard of Baba Ngqulunga our church head leader who was also very musical, who used to put it up in the front for anyone skilled to play it, but I failed due to lack of skill. He brought it to our school-classroom-housed church congregation for some Saturdays or Sabbaths.
Later on in the church I go to, we had this Hammond organ that was donated by an elderly white brother, Mr Wessels, in 1995 when the church building had just been built. For many years it was never played by anyone and it broke the momement there was electricity to connect it to. When I was the head leader too I facilitated the repair of the organ, of which the congregation supported. I was the first person to play it while I was also busy with tons and tons of other serious duties. By this time, as a result of not being able to split myself, I had seized being a practicing musician that I was when I was younger. I learnt the basic triads and started trying my luck on the keys and the members encouraged it. I played for many years without any proper keyboard classes. I would go to Natal Technikon City Campus to do some practices of my own on student pianos and when students found me there they would chase me away. I then bought my first small Casio keyboard and tried to do more practice at home. I still could not figure out how to play what I really wanted to play, sounds that are played in gospel, jazz, pop, or other popular genres. I then took classes and that’s when things changed a bit. In between I collaborated in live music gigs, and also managed my own that always failed due to hardships that come with dealing with bands, especially when you don’t belong to the fratenity but engaged passionately in the craft. I started a project band, Journeying On, and learnt more from that practical environment. I also took more lessons and then now I could play what I always wanted to play at a reasonable level of proficiency. That congregation gave me, apart from lessons in culture and in leadership, practical lessons in music. I still play there for free every weekend coz I owe my congregation that, and because music is what I’ve always done. Through the skills I acquired in live music, in classes, and in the recording studio, I’ve trained a team of nine pa system engineers for the congregation, that are now much more autonomous.
These days when I play, something happens that never used to happen, I always meet those that wish to be taught how to play too. Thinking about it now, I’d say to anyone that, what I play is more than just the skill, althought not at the level I want to be at, but it is years of sacrifice and encouragement by others, propelled by personal passion. I’d say that do something that you are and not just something you just see people do well. If you see them doing it well and you are encouraged to try it, and it’s also your calling, then do it by all means because you won’t regret it. Today I enjoy different traditional styles I’ve learnt via the skills I collected over the years, and I always share that with people and the public, the owners of the art. For me it was a life long passion and the support of many many people including the church groups I sang and wrote music for. I’m still growing and see that everyday . Find and do what you love, and then share it with others.