News Brief
Photo: Sabelo Mkabela

Sjava has been accused of sexual assault by former girlfriend Lady Zamar.

The SABC Will Carry on Playing Sjava’s Music Amid Rape Case

The national broadcaster will let the law take its course.

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), the country's national TV and radio broadcaster, will not stop playing Sjava's music until he is proven guilty by the court.

A rape case against the popular musician was opened by his ex-girlfriend, fellow artist Lady Zamar two weeks ago. Sjava has since been dropped from the lineup of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival which was due to perform in this March in the Mother City. The DStv Mzansi Viewers' Choice Awards also removed the Sjava from its list of nominees. A few other organizations followed suit.

Not the SABC.

"The SABC respects the rule of law and believes that any allegations levelled against anyone should follow the due process of the law," acting SABC spokesperson Mmoni Seapolelo recently told The Sowetan newspaper. "Thus at this stage, it is premature for the SABC to take any decision regarding broadcasting Sjava's music."

Sjava hasn't said much since the news broke when Lady Zamar detailed being abused in a thread on Twitter in October 2019. Sjava denied the allegations in a statement.

"I did not rape her [Lady Zamar]," wrote Sjava. "People are saying that I made empty threats to take her to court after her allegations last year. Ngithe mina [I said] last year I would follow legal processes to protect myself. This was not a threat. It's something that anyone would do to protect themselves if they are accused of doing something that is not true."

The Sowetan further reports that Sjava's music hasn't taken a huge dive since the case was opened. According to Radio Monitor, the official standard that captures airplay data and analysis in over 170 radio stations and 25 TV channels in South Africa, Sjava's latest single "Linda" was played 36 times across 19 stations, while "Flight School" by K.O, which features Sjava, has been played 99 times across 38 stations.

Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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