ZAKES MDA: Music to die to and mourn for
In this extract from ‘Wayfarer’s Hymns’, meet the great Famole and take a glimpse into putting him to rest
The concertina keened across the gorges and was echoed by boulders on the hills and cliffs on the mountains. Even the rock rabbits stirred, and women gathering firewood in the bush stopped their gossip and paid attention to the song undulating from the bellows. They must have muttered, there he goes, the boy-child whose body will end up being food for the vultures, Moliehi’s brother, there he goes, giving himself to the land.
Usually, giving myself to the land meant rambling, without any specific destination, heading where the wind blew me, until the smell of fermented sorghum stopped me in my tracks and led me to a place of abandon where buxom women performed focho, the dance that young South Africans have appropriated and call vosho. This time it is different. The road has a destination. It leads to Matelile Ha Sekhaupane. To pay my last respects to Famole, the greatest singer of hymns who ever lived...