Legendary South African musician Ndikho Xaba has died. A short statement released on Ndikho’s Facebook page on Wednesday morning first announced the news.
“For those of you who may not know Baba Ndikho Xaba made his transition on June 11, 2019 at about 9am. It was a smooth peaceful transition for which we are eternally grateful
Speaking to The Juice, the jazz legend’s record label Matsuli Music also confirm the news.
The youngest of six boys, Ndikho Xaba was born in 1934 in Pietermaritzburg. His first instrument was the penny-whistle, which he taught himself to play. Ndikho would go on to play several other instruments throughout his career – all self-taught.
After landing himself on the radar of the notorious police ‘Special Branch’ during the Apartheid era for being present ANC Youth League meetings and events with musical group Tympany Slickers in the late 50s, Ndikho had to maintain a low profile.
In 1962 he joined Alan Paton’s theatre production Sponono. Not only was it hugely successful in South Africa, but it also went on to become the first African play to run on Broadway.
Choosing to remain in the US, Ndikho would link up with South African greats Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and Caiphus Semenya while moving around the country. It was also in the US that he would meet his wife, Nomusa Xaba.
Later on, Nomusa would introduce Ndikho to saxophonist James ‘Plunky’ Branch with whom he would start legendary band Ndikho Xaba and the Natives.
The band’s music would be re-issued in 2015 my Matsuli Music.
Information regarding Ndikho’s funeral arrangements is not available yet. However, according to the Facebook post, it will be shared on the icon’s page.
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