The Beat Goes On

It was a rather pleasant experience revisiting our shack. Nothing stays still in ekasi for long and our home for the month of August already had new tenants.


It was a bit embarrassing to see how they had transformed the same space into something way more liveable than our ‘cheap-foam-mattresses-on-the-floor’ arrangement. In its place was a double bed complete with mosquito net, a two-seater couch and a fully fledged sound system with generator to boot.


What intrigued me even more about the new tenants was the unexpected joy in happening on two talented and ambitious musicians. I had previously met Doctor  around our evening camp fire. This time though, I found myself sitting on their couch enjoying an impromptu hip hop and Afro pop rendition. Fortunately, I had my iPhone to record two of their ad-libbed tracks, sans back beat. The raw talent is still impressive:


Track 1: Mohamba (Afro pop)

Track 2: GTI (Johannesburg Hip Hop)


As a bit of background, about three months ago, Doctor and his girlfriend Lettie moved from the South African Province of Mpumulanga to Mamelodi. Like many people in their shoes, the dreams of the big city are dreams of realising potential and finding a rewarding livelihood. Doctor is the creative genius of the partnership, writing all their songs and is their hip hop contributor. Lettie has a beautiful, Zahara-esque voice. They already have 30 tracks to their name and Doctor knows exactly which 13 will be on their first album. They call themselves Mbombela after the capital city of Mpumalanga Province.


Doctor and Lettie have been unemployed since arriving in Mamelodi, unsuccessfully trying to craft out a space for their musical ability to blossom. And all they would love is a bit of studio time to record a demo album. Given that the predecessors in their shack had quite a bit of studio time for very different reasons, I thought to would be a fitting end to a chapter of our Mamelodi experience for the beat to go through the wonderful talent of Doctor and Lettie.

Let me know if you or someone you know would like to help out?


  1. Debra Shapiro says:

    I stumbled upon your blog, and thought you were all brave and good people. In my hometown of Newark, New Jersey, the now Mayor and Senator-elect Cory Booker once lived as a homeless person to have such an authentic experience. My Mother lived in Joburg from 1930-1940 and she shared stories of friends jailed for delivering Black women or for holding classes in their homes. I like the music you shared on the blog post and wondered if they should start a Go Fund Me campaign on line. I have contributed to a couple of Go Fund Me sites for friends and one was also to get a first CD made (she did succeed). Good luck!

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