Siyakhula Music Centre, in partnership with Haringey Music Service will host a music concert in honour of fallen Durban internationally-acclaimed jazz great, Dr Nhlanhla Brian Thusi on the 13th of July at Durban Music School located at 21 Diakonia Street in Durban.  Dr Thusi succumbed to a renal failure in August last year.

The concert, dubbed Siyakhula Community Music Centre Concert, will feature a big jazz band, gumboots and traditional dance, the Haringey Music Service and musicians, some of whom benefitted from Dr Thusi’s tutelage, thorough the centre.  The line-up will include trumpeter Sydney Mavundla, saxophonist Linda Sikhakhane and trombonist Nothando Madondo, among others, who will be part of a 20-piece band.

Under the leadership of Mr Khulekani Bhengu, the Executive Director of Siyakhula, who is a music graduate and musician in par excellence in his own right, Dr Thusi’s vision for the organization and the partnership between the music schools is continuing.  The two schools will host an exchange programme, which they will also use to pay homage to Dr Thusi.

Activities will kick-off through a music workshop and the subsequent Music Concert for the benefit of youth from disadvantaged communities, including child and youth care centres, children living in the streets as well as learners from musically-inclined schools in Umlazi.  The workshop will be held at Salvation Army Church, Umlazi F297 on the 12th of July starting at 15h30, a day before the music concert.

The late Dr Brian Thusi. Picture by Hamba Kahle Dr Brian Thusi Pace

The concert programme, with an expected attendance of about 500 youths, will be a two-hour event starting at 16h00.  Entrance will be free of charge for kids, while adults are requested to donate sanitary pads, socks, toothbrushes etc.  The proceeds will be donated to Umlazi Child and Youth Care Centre and children living in the streets.  Patrons are requested to bring donations to be deposited into a donations box that will be located at the hall.

Siyakhula Community Music Centre is a non-profit organization that was established in 1986 when youths approached Dr Thusi for an opportunity of being taught music theory and musical instruments.  The music school has since grown and attracted enthusiastic youngsters from historically-disadvantaged communities in and around eThekwini metro such as Umlazi, Chesterville, Clermont, Marianhill, Ntuzuma, KwaMashu, Hammarsdale, KwaMakhutha and Mbumbulu.  The Umlazi-based school is currently enrolling 150 learners, thanks to the partnership with Umlazi Salvation Army.  It offers lessons in music theory and mastery of various brass instruments as well as piano, keyboard, guitar, drum kit and traditional dance.

The Haringey Music Service, through its Head of Service, Mr Peter Desmond and Dr Thusi, has had a solid partnership since 2000.  It is an internationally-renowned music school located at Haringey Council in London, the United Kingdom.  Over the years, the two music schools have organized exchanged programmes, wherein youths from either country visited and learnt from each other’s music and cultural backgrounds.

Mr Bhengu described the event as a milestone in celebrating the legacy of Dr Thusi.  “As Siyakhula Community Music Centre, we feel honoured to witness such a historic moment to honour a legend, mentor and founder, the late Dr Brian Thusi.  It is also fulfilling to honour the man who dedicated his time, energy and resources to the upliftment of previously disadvantaged people from his neighbourhood. We will forever be grateful to Dr Thusi for laying that solid foundation for the music industry to grow by ensuring that he identified and introduced new talent in the music scene, particularly jazz.  We are calling upon members of the community to come and support this initiative, which will go a long way in assisting impoverished people”, Mr Bhengu said.