Death On The Road

The previous two mixtapes featured songs about roads and road trips respectively and in putting these together we got to thinking about how many South African musicians have died while travelling in their cars. Some of these accidents have taken place as the musicians have travelled to concerts while other accidents have been part of musicians’ day to day lives. In at least two instances – Gito Baloi and Lucky Dube – the deaths were the result of carjackings, while Tebego Madingoane was shot dead in a road rage incident following a car accident. Travelling anywhere in a motor vehicle in South Africa is more risky than in most parts of the world. And given the vast distances between South Africa’s major cities, the potential danger for South African musicians travelling to and from performances adds to the many sacrifices which they make in order to ply their trade. This mixtape is dedicated to all South African musicians in an acknowledgement of the many hours, days, weeks and months they end up spending on our roads, and in memory of those who have died on these roads.

Below is a list of musicians who have died on South African roads. The list is not definitive because – unfortunately – there are other South African musicians who have undoubtedly died in car accidents. If there are any names missing please let us know and we can add their details to the list, in remembrance. And if you know any or all of the names of the members of Sankomota who were killed in a car accident in April 1996 please get in touch with us. Finally, if any of the details listed are incorrect also please do get in touch with the correct information.

We have tried to include a song which features the musician(s) in question, and where possible, include a song which that musician wrote. In the case of Roger Cumming we could not locate a Silver Creek Mountain Band recording of a song on which we were sure he performed, and so we included a very fitting tribute to the Silver Creek Mountain Band by Bill Malkin, which includes a reference to Roger Cumming.

We thank Jonathan Handley of the Radio Rats for drawing and designing a special cover for this mixtape.

In remembrance:

  1. Don Christie of Dickie Loader and the Blue Jeans 1965
  2. Roger Cumming of the Silver Creak Mountain Band 1977
  3. Tuza Mthetwa and Pompie Sofibo of the Soul Brothers 1979
  4. Tony Hunter of the Uptown Rhythm Dogs 1980 (check when died?)
  5. Koos Du Plessis 15 January 1984
  6. Zakes Mchunu of the Soul Brothers 1984
  7. Adam Reinecke of Winston’s Jive Mix Up 17 December 1989
  8. Penny Power of Peach 24 April 1994
  9. Kevin Van Staden of Celtic Rumours 26 December 1994
  10. James Phillips 31 July 1995
  11. Four members of Sankomota 12 April 1996
  12. West Nkosi August 1998
  13. Johnny Mair of Sweatband 11 November 2002
  14. Bles Bridges 24 March 2000
  15. Gito Baloi 4 April 2004
  16. Tebego Madingoane of Mafikizolo 14 February 2004 (shot dead in a road rage
  17. incident following car accident)
  18. Lebo Mathosa of Boom Shaka Shaka 23 October 2006
  19. Lucky Dube 18 October 2007
  20. Tulsa Pittaway of Watershed (and Evolver One and Brotherly) 21 May 2017
  21. Jacques de Coning solo Afrikaans singer 9 June 2019
  22. Jethro Butow of Morocko and …. 19 January 2020
  23. Emmanuel “Mjokes” Matsane of Trompies 22 May 2021
  24. Sakhile Hlatshwayo (Killer Kau) 8 August 2021
  25. Mpura 8 August 2021 (Same accident as above)

Capital 604 – The Miss Parade: 1991

1991 saw a dismal number of only eight South African songs on the Capital Radio Top 40 countdown, and two of those were by a single artist: Wendy Oldfield. Others to chart that year were Robin Auld, Big Sky, Jo Day, Little Sister, Mango Groove and the Radio Rats. We have come up with a further 14 songs which we think were good enough to chart that year, and which would have added some welcome diversity to the South African music on the charts.

We suggested a second song by Robin Auld “Charlie Go Crazy”, but the rest of the songs we suggest are by artists who did not chart on Capital in 1991, although most of them have featured in previous “Missed” Mixtapes. There are four artists who had previously featured in Capital Top 40s: Robin Auld (as previously mentioned), Lucky Dube (“House of Exile”), Sipho Mabuse (“Thiba Kamoo”) and Tribe After Tribe (“White Boys in the Jungle”). Manfred Mann had also charted on Capital (“The Runner” by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band) but we didn’t feature that as a South Africa song because the entire group was British apart from Manfred Mann himself. However, Manfred Mann’s Plains Music album from which we feature “Medicine Song” is a neo-traditional South African album which features several South African musicians alongside Manfred Mann. Another new group, not previously featured on Mixtapes.ZA are the Getout, a relatively new band from East London. The song featured here is the title track of their one and only album Emerge And See.

In 1991 Shifty Records featured for the first time on the Capital Top 40 with the Radio Rats’ “Turn on the Radio”, a song from the 1990 Big Beat album, which is why we featured another song from that album in out 1990 Missed Mixtape and not the 1991 Missed Mixtape. Another Shifty artist, James Phillips, features here with “Africa is Dying” a song recorded in 1991 but only released by Shifty on the Soul Ou album in 1997. We have included it here because we think it should have ideally been released in 1991! Former Shifty artists the Genuines feature here with “Love Song”. Other artists who we think should have charted in 1991 are: Yvonne Chaka Chaka (“Who’s Got the Power”), Basil Coetzee (“Monwabisi”), Miriam Makeba & Dizzy Gillespie (“Eyes on Tomorrow”), No Friends of Harry (“Never Seen a Better Day”), Prophets Of Da City (“Boomstyle”) and Sakhile (“Welcome Home”).

This is our last missed tape for now. This is because, as mentioned in the sleevenotes for the Capital 1991 Mixtape, we do not have sufficient copies of charts from 1992 until the closure of Capital Radio in 1996 to determine a full list of the songs that charted in any one of those years. If by some chance we come across those charts we would love to explore the hits and misses on Capital right through to the station’s closure in 1996.