Dathini Mzayiya: Letting the music take him

by Ben Verghese

At the 1978 Jazz Festival Willisau (Switzerland), Johnny Mbizo Dyani, best known as a member of the Blue Notes, closed his solo concert with a song, Let the Music Take You.[1] Out of a circling piano melody Dyani sings: “Music is love, everybody knows. Let the music take you!” it is believed that a year earlier, when in Lagos at Festac ’77, Dyani was recruited by the ANC to represent the organisation from his sites of exile in Scandinavia. Almost nine months after Dyani’s Willisau gig, Dathini Mzayiya was born in Komani (then Queenstown) in the Eastern Cape.

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Umsi: Exhibition review

Note: This review was originally published online in 2005.

Umsi (the smoke) is a group exhibition featuring Lindile Magunya, Ndikhumbule Ngqinambi, Thulani Shuku, Dathini Mzayiya, Lonwabo Kilani, and Vivien Kohler. Inspired by Magunyas “documentation of the ongoing burning of the shacks in his area”; the artists share a “common concern around the housing problems in the Western Cape [and are] questioning the ongoing burning of the informal settlements”. They believe that through coming together they can “voice these social issues louder than an individual can.” The motivation for collective action is also a practical one. The artists, who between them have studied at every local institution accessible them, primarily NGO’s, colleges and workshops, “decided to create our own opportunities [to build] our group career as well as our individual careers [due to] the gap …between galleries and emerging artists, and … the lack of resources for …solo exhibitions” Guided by emerging curator Vuyile Voyiya, who has been mentor to the group, these paintings come from a workshop held last year as well as from works produced subsequently.

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