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African Heroes

Vusi Mahlasela: Building a musical Africa from tin and Fishing Line


Mahlasela on stage

Born Vusi Sidney Mahlasela Ka Zwane in 1965 in Lady Selborne, South Africa, Mahlasela became enchanted by music at an early age, building his first guitar out of tin and fishing line. He grew up in Mamelodi Township, a vibrant artist community where he still resides.

 

Mahlasela delved into poetry and songwriting as a teen, eventually joining youth organizations protesting South Africa's separatist, white government. Reading poems at night vigils, funerals and anti-Apartheid marches triggered a long streak of police harassment. His poems and songs were routinely confiscated—forcing him to memorize all his work.

 

Mahlasela, an accomplished guitarist, percussionist, composer, arranger, bandleader and performer, has bridged generations at home and abroad. His sound is a hybrid of folk, world, blues and soul, one that connects South Africa's Apartheid-scarred past with its promise for a better future. Over the past three years of heavy, worldwide touring and spreading his message, Mahlasela has remained true to his roots.

 

The singer-songwriter and poet-activist has successfully followed his muse. That trust in his gift is at the root of his latest album, Guiding Star. The bulk of Guiding Star was recorded on a farm in rural South Africa. Like any Vusi Mahlasela album, the songs connect him and the people of South Africa with their past, present, and hope for a better future: 'Song for Thandi' tells the story of detained freedom fighter Thandi Modise, while the 'Sower of Words' – featuring Dave Matthews is a lament for the late Black Consciousness poet and writer Ingoapele Madingoane, who wrote the influential poem 'Africa My Beginning, Africa My Ending.'

 

After the end of Apartheid, Vusi performed at Nelson Mandela's inauguration in 1994, and is now an ambassador to Mandela's 46664 Foundation, a campaign to help raise Global awareness of Aids/ HIV. Mahlasela proudly promotes Mandela's message at all of his performances.

 

At The African Executive and Inter Region Economic Network, we congratulate Vusi Mahlasela for launching his latest album, Guiding Star and endorse him to be our African hero this season!

 

Please see http://www.vusimahlasela.com/




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• Vusi Mahlasela: Building a musical Africa from tin and Fishing Line
• Sylvester John: Connecting African Entrepreneurs to Global Business
• Emeka Okafor: Africa Has Good Things to Offer
• Tu Nokwe: Originality and Music Power Blend
• Zeresenay Alemseged: Origin of Man to Help Stem Conflicts
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• Vusi Mahlasela: Building a musical Africa from tin and Fishing Line


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