Sibanye, Eleven Spice Band


Eleven official languages, eleven ways of saying something.  Or singing it.  This musical group, Sibanye make a point of using all the eleven different languages of our country to express their music.  Some of their songs are popular pieces from generations ago, presented in their own unique style.  Many of their songs are new, original and written by one of the members.

Each member comes from a different background.  Battling everyday hardships, they followed their dreams to make it in the musical world, or just play the music they love, for anyone to hear.  The founding member, Leon Oosthuizen was born in Durban, lived in Johannesburg for a while, then moved to Stellenbosch where he grew up.  He traveled all over Africa and connected with musicians everywhere.

A man from the Congo joined Sibanye and tours and performs with the group, singing in any of the five languages he speaks fluently.  Some of the members are originally from the Eastern Cape.  Xhosa is their language.  Others are Capetonians.  One member performed in the “Kaapse Klopse” since he was five years old.  Not going into their biographies any deeper, I’d rather talk about their music and the show I attended.

The songs varied from typical Xhosa to Swazi to Sotho, Afrikaans, English and French.  They sang about family, love and life in general.  Some songs were loud, fast with strong African beat.  Others, like the “Capongo” were slow and, though I don’t understand a lot of French, sounded nostalgic.  Whatever the language, beat or tempo, the music and dance was executed with perfection.  Every performance, every song spoke of excellence and dedication.  Each member, and the group as a whole performed flawless, presenting a show of the highest quality and professionalism.

By the end of the show, many in the audience were clapping hands to the beat, wriggling or gyrating to the music, right there in their seats. Even in a conservative environment like Stellenbosch, it was well received and enjoyed. It was time and money well spent and an honour to meet them backstage. Sibanye, the band that sings in eleven languages, (and more), like one of them said, it is like putting eleven spices in one stew and create something different. Different they are. In a very good way.

Magdel Roets.

Writer of Christian Faction, Non-Fiction and Fiction.

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