ESIBATHANDILE BASILAHLEKELE: UJonas Gwangwa (1937-2021)

Everson Luhanga

Iqhawe le-jazz linikele ngakho konke ebulungisweni

Kukhombisa impilo yakhe ende ukuthi uJonas Mosa Gwangwa wadlala i-trombone eqenjini lesikole lase-St Peter’s College eGoli ekwamukelweni i-Freedom Charter e-Kliptown ngoNhlangulana kowezi-1955 – isikhathi esibalulekile emlandweni waseNingizimu Afrika.

Isazi se-Jazz uGwen Ansell, obhala umlandompilo kaGwangwa, uthe yena ngaphezu kwanoma yimuphi omunye umculi “wayelwela umzabalazo waseNingizimu Afrika wesiko lesizwe”.

Kanye noHugh Masikela oshaya icilongo no-Abdullah Ibrahim kwikhibhodi, uGwangwa oyi-trombonist wasungula iqembu eminyakeni engamashumi amahlanu edlule ebizwa nge-Jazz Epistles. Ndawonye bakhipha i-albhamu yokuqala yesimanjemanje ye-jazz eqenjini labamnyama laseNingizimu Afrika.

Ukuzibophezela kukaGwangwa emzabalazweni wokulwa nobandlululo kwamyisa ekudingisweni ngowezi-1961. Wahamba eyilungu labalingisi bomculo we-opera omkhulu wase-Afrika i-King Kong. Kulapho aqala khona ukungena ezingeni lomhlaba, enandisa noMasikela, uMiriam Makeba, uLetta Mbulu noHarry Belafonte.

Ngowezi-1980 wabeka eceleni umsebenzi wakhe wamazwe omhlaba wasungula iqembu labaculi, i-Amandla Cultural Ensemble, kusukela ethalenteni elincane emakhempini ezempi e-ANC e-Angola ukuze enze umculo womzabalazo wande.

Ngowezi-1985 ikhaya lomndeni wakhe e-Gaborone labhujiswa ngamasosha obandlululo ngesikhathi ehlasela umngcele owaba nenhlanhla yokusinda.

Ubhale iculo elidla kwibhayisikobho ebizwa ngokuthi i-Cry Freedom ngowezi-1986 edlala noDenzel Washington noKevin Kline waqokelwa indondo ye-Oscar.

Ngowezi-1991 uGwangwa wabuyela ekhaya lapho aqhubeka khona nokukhiqiza izingoma futhi ecula kwaze kwaba ukuthi ukugula okuyindida ngowezi-2019 kumshiya embhedeni.

Indodana yakhe yesibili, uMojalefa Gwangwa, okhulume nabakwa-Scrolla.Africa esemzini wakhe e-Observatory empumalanga neGoli ngeSonto, uthe uGwangwa uqhubeke nokwenza umculo esembhedeni wakhe egula.

UMojalefa uthe ubaba wakhe ubesezinhlelweni zokukhipha enye futhi i-albhamu abesebenza kuyo nabanye abaculi abasebancane ababefika estudiyo. “Ubaba ngezinye izikhathi wayevuka ngehora lokuqala ekuseni bese eqala ukudlala ipiyano yakhe.”

Uthe ngesikhathi ubaba wakhe esekhaya, wayekuthanda ukupheka. “Ubehamba aye ekhishini egqoke iphinifa lakhe elungile bese eqala ukupheka. Bese sonke besazi ukuthi uzosiphekela ukudla okwehla esiphundu.”

Ngaphandle kokuba ngumculi omatasatasa, uMojalefa uthe ubaba wakhe, ubaba wezingane eziyisithupha, “ubewuthanda kakhulu umndeni wakhe kakhulu ukwedlula enye into”.

Wayeyithanda imvelo futhi wayechitha isikhathi engadini yakhe kodwa wonke umuntu wayazi ukuthi iminwe yangempela eluhlaza yileyo yomkakhe uViolet ahlangana naye ngowezi-1951.

Babeneminyaka cishe engama-70 bendawonye – yize behlukene iminyaka eyi-14 ngenkathi esekudingisweni – ngesikhathi umkakhe eshona mhla ziyisithupha kuMasingana.

UJonas umlandele ngoMgqibelo ehambisana nalokho okushiwo nguMengameli uCyril Ramaphosa akubize “njengeqembu elikhulu le-orchestra yokhokho bethu bezomculo”.

Uhamba ngemuva kweminyaka emithathu namuhla ngemuva komlingani wakhe wesikhathi eside uHugh Masikela kanye neminyaka emibili ngemuva komculi omkhulu wase-Zimbabwe u-Oliver Mtukudzi.

“Ngicabanga ukuthi ubenesizungu ngaphandle kukamama,” kusho uMojalefa.