Race, radio and genre are explored in episode 2 of Gallo Vault Sessions, the fascinating music podcast that takes you through the biggest cultural and political moments in South African music.
Released a day after Freedom Day, on April 28th, the episode explores the impact the SABC and in particular, Radio Bantu, had in shaping apartheid’s grand separate development vision, and the role music played in that. It also highlights one unintended consequence – how radio drama ‘rescued culture’.
Featuring veteran broadcaster Shado Twala, and legendary musician Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse, amongst others, the episode touches on Mavuthela, Pharanyana, Percy Sledge, Thomas Chauke, Radio Metro, the role of radio dramas and censorship. Accompanying it is the all-vinyl mix exploring Radio Bantu and beyond, by Vusi Hlatywayo.
Episode 2 moves from the launch of Radio Bantu led by the preservationist Hugh Tacey, through to the popularisation of Maskanda and its first major star Phuzushukela; and on to one of Gallo’s first major global hits, the tsaba-tsaba jazz standard Skokiaan covered dozens of times by artists from across the world.
It touches on the impact of US soul on South African music including the seminal Sesotho cover by Jacob Mpharanyana Radebe of Percy Sledge’s ‘Take Time to Know Her’. Sledge in fact broke the cultural boycott to tour South Africa in the 70’s acknowledging that South African audiences had made the song “so great for me here; and I dig you the most for that”.
The series is narrated by Kineta Kunutu, and researched, produced and written by artist, researcher and DJ Zara Julius at KONJO. Gallo Vault Sessions is presented by Gallo Music in collaboration with KONJO. Episode one and two is available on select digital streaming platforms with a new episode launched on the last Thursday of the month, over the next four months.