Caiphus Semenya talks life, love & Apartheid

Caiphus Semenya talks life, love & Apartheid

Nov 28, 2018, 04:45 PM

DJ Fresh has some of the best radio interviews around and his ability to not only put the biggest names in the world at ease, but also get into their hearts and assist them in sharing their stories is unparalleled. Young and old, veteran or newbie, Fresh approaches them all with an energy that makes for phenomenal radio and that's exactly why he's been able to have one of the longest and most brilliant careers in radio.
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Recently he had the legend Caiphus Semenya on his show, Fresh Breakfast, which he co-hosts with Somizi, to talk life, love, wins, losses and all round growth. Rre Semenya has a discography that's virtually unmatched in terms of prestige.  Born in Alex Township in August 1939, he's been making music since he was 13, and although he had to take flight from South Africa as the ills of Apartheid worsened, he kept in walking his path and is an Emmy Award winning composer as well as an Academy Award nominee for his work on Roots and The Color Purple, respectively. His has been a full, and wondrous life.

Over the course of the almost hour long candid interview Rre Semenya let us into the heart and mind of one of Africa's brightest gems, and there's even a surprise call from his partner, and entertainment giant as well, Letta Mbulu. Below are some take ways from the episode. 

On Angelina

"One of my fondest memories is of first performing it in Lesotho in 1970 something. I didn't know people liked it that much, so as soon as the song finished I moved on to the next track but the audience didn't want that. They made me perform it again because they really enjoyed it."

"Creating Angelina was a Pan African affair. In America we were segregated but there was still a big community of Black people so we all came together. It was through the efforts of those I met during that time, and various sounds, that that song was put together"

On exile

"Most exiles landed in Botswana or Zambia. A lot of them had already created networks of funding, because nobody could afford to really go that far, so there were networks to help people. Once in Botswana, you'd reach out and seek funding"

DJ Fresh then relayed how that was actually how he first met Hugh Masekela. Hugh was in exile in Botswana and didn't live far from where Fresh lived. So while he was holed up making music, fresh and other neighbourhood kids would try and get a glimpse of the star, in awe. 

On his relationship with Letta

The pair knew each other because they'd often get booked at the same shows, but it wasn't until Caiphus went to visit one of his friends that he actually started forming any sort of real bond with Letta. Despite being forbidden from dating or being too close in any way, love eventually blossomed between the two. 

"It took time, it's something that grew" - Letta Mbulu

The duo has raised a gorgeous family together and Letta says it was mostly due to the understanding that they had of their partnership. "We shared. We made a way and we understood that we needed each other". On the day of the interview Mma Letta wasn't able to be in studio because she was attending graduation ceremonies for their grandchildren, so clearly, this is a system that works. 

"Who else am I going to get who has walked this road with me?" - Caiphus on Letta

Cover: Instagram/DJFreshSA
Written by

TSWAlebs Team

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