The Brother Moves On
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The Brother Moves On

Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band World Jazz


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Nothing Major with The Brother Moves On"

Nothing Major with The Brother Moves On

The Brother Moves On has been one of our favourites acts in recent times, with performances and ideals which captivate audiences, provoking self awareness and societal discussion. Following their recent performances in the UK through the Future Music Rising campaign supported by Connect ZA and The British Council, we had some time with Raytheon Moorvan, Guitarist of TBMO, to discuss the politics of bands, the politics of arts and the state of the local music industry amongst other topics

The Fuss - The Brother Mouzone is a character from the TV show The Wire. In the show he plays the part of an atypical hit man, much like your group The Brother Moves On is an unfamiliar hit on any preconceived ideas of local music. Explain to us what the influence behind calling your group The Brother Moves On was?

The Brother Moves On - At the time when the name was conceived, Nkush and Siya were busy watching The Wire. Si had just returned from Rhodes also from splitting with his college band, Orangotang Bitch. The idea of ‘starting another band only for it to end’ was still fresh. In the succeeding months music was being made with many instrumentalists but nothing seemed to stick. Members came and left and the compositions were not being given the attention they needed. Then I met Nkush at old Bohemian. Him and I started talking music and he said that there was this band called The Brother Moves On and that I should join. He oversold it naturally, pyrotechnics, trapeze artists… and I was naïve. So I went to meetup with him late one Tuesday. He was not there. He told Zwash to come meet me. He did. Siya came home from work. We jammed. The next week we were in Grahamstown for Gfest on our first tour with a temporary rhythm section. The compositions fleshed themselves out. People came into the stream and fell out of it on a weekly basis. We kept on playing though. Thus the Brother Moves On. Also, the idea that things can end at any time made it easier to let go of the idea of being in a band which let the compositions breathe. And this was the main point I guess. The ‘composing’ of it all. The notion that we were out to assassinate preconceived ideas about local music only developed later (as the compositions became more formidable) from public opinion and whatnot. We were enjoying ourselves for what seemed to be the first time.

The Fuss - Your group is not in the typical format of band. You are a performance collective who use costume and storytelling alongside music to convey your ideas. Is our local audience, especially the youth, ready for such an act, considering the themes you deal with? It has been said in reference to your performances, “The people want to dance, and we want to tell a story”.

TBMO - Based on what I can see, people are having the same conversation we are [having] with ourselves. Nothing happens without reason. It doesn’t matter whether we’re ready for it or not. Once you’ve reconciled that with yourself it makes it easier to be a soldier about it. And yes… we are at War. Make no mistake.

The Fuss - Your first release, The Golden Wake EP, “tells a fictional tale of a young South African villager named Mr Gold” and when you performed it live it was staged as a performance piece, whereby audience members are invited to the wake of Mr Gold’s funeral. Coincidentally your next release was the ETA EP, which serves to exorcise the demons surrounding the Marikana shootings. Your most recent release is your much anticipated debut album, A New Myth. It seems your entire discography works as one collective piece. Talk us through the critical themes in your art? What is the new myth?

TBMO - I think the most prominent theme would be that of Value. What are the things people value? Why those things? What are the results of such? These are not deep concepts. They are simple. We live in such a conservative place yet conceive of ourselves to be on par with the rest of the world, say the US who have had 200 odd years without slavery, or Europe where the systems have been fortified and disassembled countless times by both people and state.

Psychologically we’re infant. Most of our histories are oral (thus temporary), clandestine, or forgotten. This makes it easy to sell us ideas. We eat them up and spit them back out like it was our idea all along. And this is how we reconcile value.
Thus, I feel that A New Myth is an effort to expose that contrivance. Something that urges us to embrace the mysteries of the mythological, yet keep reinventing ourselves for what comes after all that wonder. We can’t be in awe of ourselves forever. Someone is bound to take advantage of our ignorance and we’ll probably willingly buy into it, because we don’t know any better. When you’re good at something people don’t expect you to change. This is a very dangerous thing when it comes to substantiating our personal (and collective) ideas of value.

The Fuss - Sometimes your audiences are unsure of exactly of how to act in response to your performances and the thematically daring subject matter. Jimi Hendrix once said, “Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music”. What do you aim to achieve with The Brother Moves On and why do you do what you do? What is the response you crave from your audiences?

TBMO - For the most part, we just want to share the music. We’re learning about the world as we learn about ourselves. It’s a gradual process. People are sometimes hard on themselves and then just not and become stubborn about their flaws and defensive about their strengths. I suppose, in our space, we try to cultivate an attitude of presence in relation to this. There is something dutiful about it. A responsibility to make things better than they are. We make music with this at heart. If you’re present with us then you get it too. Hopefully this is what you go home with and feel hopeful that this still exists. I suppose the notion that is most important is that in spite of being inspired by it, the onus is then on you to convey it into the world. If you were present then you felt the bliss and know. That’s a really great currency to work with, the ‘knowing’ that is. When you have a sense of knowing then you’ve confronted all your deepest fears and hopes. The path can only become clearer.

The Fuss - Overall your music is blatant social commentary on the dire situation of our current socio-political landscape. In party@parktownmansions off your debut album you say, “Believe in this revolution and not this party”. Your music is an interpretation of the state of affairs in our society, however, what suggestions do you have for facilitating the revolution?

TBMO - Reconciliation begins with the self.

The Fuss - Fela Kuti was a musician who used music as a cause for creating discourse around the social injustices surrounding him. He would later become a political activist – Can we anticipate a similar path for The Brother Moves On? Or is yours, solely, the role of creating the discussion – asking the questions we’re all afraid to ask?

TBMO - In the band we have differing ideas of what constitutes one’s political responsibility as a citizen. These ideas are constantly shifting. For the most part people in the world don’t look very far outside of their own personal political issues and responsibilities. Most of the time we feel entitled to the luxury of having a political opinion.

Most of the time we don’t even know what constitutes a political opinion and what doesnt.
I think we’ve forgotten real turmoil. Real violence. Fela took care of his people because he understood that they understood this reality. Perhaps if our numerous conflicted societies that we belong to were conflicted with such a reality then The Brother Moves On may stand for a similar cause. Up until then however, I for one refuse to be martyrd on the cross of a system still in the prologue of a complacency or entitlement issue. Worship idols: come back as a moose.

The Fuss - TBMO has chosen to remain independent in a music industry which is struggling to create its own identity and come to terms with what South African music actually is. What do you think the underlying problems in our industry are – Is it a case of commercial media penetrated by Western ideologies, or does the problem lie with an audience who has no appetite for South African ideas?

TBMO - At the onset I would like to make a distinction between the ‘Music Industry’ and the ‘Advertising Industry’. People often mistake one for the other. Most people in the world are passive music listeners. This makes it easy to feed advertising to them. Once people become critical about this then perhaps a new way may dawn. I have watched talented musicians fall into the pitfalls of such and forget the music. Don’t get me wrong, you have to promote youself. But not at the expense of the music. Furthermore, for your convenience, I created a list of a few other underlying problems in our industry:

No reliable music venues.
No reliable touring circuit.
Sound and light technicians (sometimes) don’t realise that they’re the most important part of the show.
No workshops for kids (and adults) to teach them what we have learned and thus maintain the knowledge within our system.
Artists really hate one another and thus wont share their knowledge readily.
Art administrators are usually failed artists and thus hate to see you succeed.
The people working as administrators, managers and events organisers don’t really LOVE music and usually follow a template of what is expected (ie: We need a ‘house dj’ or a ‘rock band’) rather than being open (and looking out for) truly emergent musical outfits.
Fame is more important than say the dissemination of knowledge of how to maintain a career, the psychological health of the society which enables us to maintain a career and the true wealth of keeping informed about how to maintain a career.
People think that one day the well is going to dry up and that love and music are not infinite.
People forget that Nothing is external.
The Fuss - Your group has played shows in France, Mozambique and have recently performed in the UK. Do you notice any differences between how the audiences overseas and those in South Africa absorb your performances?

TBMO - We have had some time in SA to convince our audiences of the notion of ‘presence’. Naturally we have had some truly awe inspiring gigs at home. The audiences abroad do take notice of the same phenomenon. I think it will take some time before they’re hanging from the ceiling fan. Also there is a very big difference to playing a show where people have come to see you and playing a show where people are seeing you for the first time. In time though…

The Fuss - You have played shows in various environments, from art galleries to a show on the side of the road on Bree in the city. Tell us about some of your favourite performances? Those performances which left you amazed at the conclusion of your set.

TBMO - I think unanimously Bushfire 2012 and 2013 were both epic. The house on fire stage packed out and things got frantic quickly! The 2013 show was epic because we had never played to 20 000 people before so it was special. We were also on Quantum Leap tour which was our plan to dominate the SADC. We played Mozambique, Swaziland, Reunion Islands, Botswana and played shows in Pretoria and Johannesburg in between each leg. It was the longest most extensive tour we have done so playing Bushfire in the middle and being received so well was great, especially before going on our first trip over the seas to Reunion. Sakifo in Reunion was also epic. Foaming, spastic french-men losing their heads. It was great. The crowd sang ole’ ole’ ole’ at the end in appreciation.

We once played Hoetspruit to a predominantly dutch crowd expecting Mean Mr Mustard. At the end the MC said ‘Hoetspruit! We have to change!’. I thought that one was pretty special.
The slave church gig with Sannie Fox and Derrek Gripper was haunting. It was also our first gig with City Soiree who run an amazing concept where fans pledge for a band to come to their city. Thus the fee is secured before we leave home. The whole concept made that tour uniquely less taxing on us and the gig was in a church, which added a less abrasive yet still edgy demeanour to the whole thing. Our album launch last year at MOAD was insane. We had a semi circular stage so the audience was all around us. We played 2 sets, the second of which lasted longer than I can remember. Our first Smoking Dragon was also intense. There was an electrical storm looming and the stage was set outside. We began playing anyway. The whole setting was eery as fuck with the storm in the background edging itself closer, the audience moving closer too getting rained on but not caring, the wind blowing the stage tarp violently and us just playing hoping not to get electrocuted. Eventually the sky opened and someone reasonable shut us down and moved us inside. I would have preferred to have been electrocuted.

The Fuss - Not many people agree with the ideas you advance through your art. Have there been any hostile reactions you’ve received from the audienwce members during any of your shows?

TBMO - Not so literally. I’ve been sworn at a couple times. I can’t pay attention to it really. The love is out there.

The Fuss - Your sound is a post-genre atmospherical blend of soulful jazz and afrocentric funk, which can lend itself conjuring emotions at both extremes of the emotional spectrum –From the haunting reverberations in Agbal Meditation all the way up to the jovial Dagiwe. How did you decide on your sound? Was it predetermined or rather an organic result of jamming? Also, tell us about some of the artists who influence your particular style.

TBMO - It was organic for the most part. We have ideas that we talk about with ease now. Nothing is strained really. If someone’s ego is with us in a rehearsal then it’s obvious and we kick it out. It’s been working so far. [Artists who influence us include:] Philip Tabane, Busi Mhlongo, Malcolm Jiyane, Moses Molelekwa, Steve Vai, bohren and der club of gore, Tosin Abasi, Omar Roderiguez Lopez, John Fruciante, many hours with the Real books, Coffee… [There's] too many more to mention.

The Fuss - Finally, having recently released your debut album, where will the Brothers’ journey take you during 2014?

TBMO - Im expecting a baby boy in a couple of days. The guys have been mad accomodating about it and thus our year plan has been formed around it essentially. We have started recording again and plan to be back in studio soon. The new tracks are sounding amazing and I think we have found a couple great studio techniques that work well for us. We have two European trips planned for July and November and one in the US. The conversations have started on those fronts. There are a few contacts in South America as well that we plan to connect with soon but that will probably only manifest in 2015. Some of the gents want to go back to studying more seriously so there is talk of running workshops and talks or creating a syllabus for such as well. Some of the gents have residencies and other musical projects in the works. Generally getting more music out is the point. That’s the whole point right? The music? -

"The Brother Moves On: music for South Africa's transitional generation"

South Africa has a well developed indie scene, but even so Johannesburg-based The Brother Moves On are especially intriguing. An experimental performance art/music/storytelling collective in which members come and go – or "move on" – so that their sound evolves with the changing personnel, and so the energy and momentum of the collective isn't dependent on any member, as they explain below.

You're as likely to find them performing in a museum or church as in a regular music venue, and what they play defies easy categorisation: a lively and highly expressive hybrid that spans rock, Xhosa funk, jazz, folk, electronic, dance, spoken word – all labels they hate, by the way, as labels restrict – they prefer to think of themselves as post-genre. Their music is neither black nor white, but clearly rooted in South Africa, feeding off the country's unique political history – something that becomes apparent when you listen to their social commentary. They are creating, in their own words, "transitional music for a transitional generation", in other words, music for and about where the generation of South Africans born after apartheid find themselves, which is free and hopeful, but also disappointed in and disillusioned with a system hasn't delivered much to support the hopes of this generation, particularly the the hopes of its underprivileged members.

We came across them thanks to the Africa In Your Earbuds mixtape they put together for Okay Africa last month (download it here), and were immediately hooked by the intro in which they layer the recording of Neil Armstrong Landing on The Moon with HF Verwoed explaining apartheid (he was SA's Prime Minister from 1958 till 1966 and the man behind the conception and implementation of apartheid) and one of their own songs Sikelela.

That was enough to get us searching for everything they've recorded to date. Turns out this incarnation of the group is fairly new, but they're not hanging about. In March they generated much critical buzz with the six-track concept EP The Golden Wake, a live recording and oral history masterclass narrating the journey of Mr Gold WaseGoli, who travels from the hinterland to Johannesburg in search of a better life.

Where to next? Who knows, but wherever it is, we're coming along for the ride. -

"Exploring Ghandi Square"

Author Nechama Brodie explains why Johannesburg is known as the city of gold and gives us a glimpse of its growing art scene. - CNN go

"South Africa's new music: We are the 'post rainbow' kids"

Twenty five years on from the landmark Nelson Mandela concert at Wembley, a fresh wave of South African musicians are forging a new identity

In July 1988, the first Nelson Mandela birthday concert was held at Wembley Stadium. Mixing with Sting, Dire Straits and Stevie Wonder, South African acts like Ladysmith BlackMambazo, Miriam Makeba and Lucky Dube finally gained recognition outside of their isolated homeland. Few others though managed to follow in their footsteps. But now twenty five years on, a fresh and independent sound of a nation has emerged, as South African musicians experiment with original sounds and look inward for inspiration rather than emulating pop music from abroad.
In response to this, a new British Council project, Connect ZA (short for the Africaans name Zuid-Afrika), will take place next year with a series of live events and online collaborations. The aim is to capture the essence of South Africa’s upsurge in creative dynamism and develop networks between young musicians and visual artists there and in the UK.
As a BBC Radio DJ with a bit of an obsession for modern music from all across the globe, a lot of which is highlighted during my Radio 3’s Late Junction programme, I was asked to spend a week in the country, researching the current musical landscape and seeking out the best up and coming artists. I happily set off on my mission to record interviews and gather music to create a one-hour podcast to be broadcast later this year.
I first went to South Africa with the BBC World Service back in 2007. In the 6 years since then there have been big changes with hip bands such as BLK JKS, Spoek Mathambo and Die Antwoord making a name for themselves internationally. Also home-grown South African - the country’s most popular form of music with the scene considered to be the largest in the world – has been making waves. Even so I was unprepared for the profusion of new music that has mushroomed, covering many genres — from punk, progressive and psych rock, to electro and futuristic hip-hop - with a whole load of great jazz, soul and dance music making up the mix.
The nation’s music makers have been busy having fun developing independently, free from the burden of trends, record company hype and genre. Gauteng-based The Brother Moves On are a particularly tough band to categorise, having emerged from a performance art collective a couple of years back. One of the most dynamic and original new groups in the country today, they fuse spoken word and folk with funk, electronics and jazz; their songs inspired by the struggle of the underprivileged members of South African society. Trying to explain their unique music, as well as the post-apartheid generation into which he was born, front man Siyabonga Mthembu says: “The Brother has an open door policy — but the Brother will spit you out if you defy its own energy. We are the “post rainbow” kids, slowly negotiating the space together”.

His comment touched on the complexitiesof the post apartheid era and many young people’s disillusionment with the country’s lack of economic equality and it made me realise that The Brother’s approach to music as a force for change is a generation apart from Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba’s protest songs.
Speaking ahead of a performance at London’s Southbank Centre on July 19th, Swaziland-born and London-educated singer songwriter Nancy G also demonstrates a new awareness of what it means to be an musician in modern South Africa: “We are influenced today to party hard and not be held accountable...BUT as a musician if you don’t take that responsibility then you are just an entertainer”.
South Africa enjoyed a flourishing psych-rock scene in the late Sixties and early Seventies, with bands like Freedoms Children, Abstract Truth and Suck. It’s not a sound many people would associate with the country today but, during a meeting with Lucas Swart and Lucy Kruger from the band The Very Wicked, I discovered that the scene is growing steadily more popular with regular “psych nights” live music events and artists including lo-fi trio The Dollfins, Wild Eastern Arches and The Future Primitives. These collaborative scenes where bands work together instead of trying to make a name on their own are impressive. As Lucy told me, “Cities like Cape Town are big enough to spread ideas and small enough to have a community.”

Even so there are still challenges for independent South African acts. National radio stations would rather play Beyonce than local bands, while internationally they struggle to be heard at all. Richard Romney who runs Red Bull Studio Cape Town sees connections between South African musicians and the rest of the world as essential for the development of the local music scene: “I like to think of it as a bridge thing - allowing South African artists to get out there into the rest of the world and helping artists outside of SA gaining exposure in the country”.
He mentioned recent Domino records signing indie-electro artist Petite Noir (aka Yannick Illunga) who has toured extensively across Europe and the US this year while astoundingly never having played in his home country. His presence abroad though has been more important in opening up international opportunities for his fellow South African musicians back home. Back in Johannesburg I caught up with Soloman, one half of futuristic African sci-fi hip hop unit BIG FKN GUN.
Rapping in Zulu to, “get away from the Western thing”, he says, “It doesn’t make sense to give Western artists so much praise and so much airplay when we have so much to celebrate here in SA.”
Although the styles emerging in the country are eclectic, Siyabonga Mthembu says they are still very much rooted in a sense of being South African: “We are not trying to please everyone — there is a specific story we’re telling. You may not understand what it’s saying but it does something to you and that’s the point.”
What I found is a South Africa with a thriving and diverse music scene packed with genuine passion. There are stories that need to be told through words, rhythms and music that needs to be heard. I for one am looking forward to hearing more. -

"50 Best Albums of 2013"

5. The Brother Moves On - A New Myth

The New York-based band Interpol released their seminal classic Turn On The Bright Lights in 2002 a year after New York had been shook to the core by the events of 9/11. Their best song ‘NYC’, despite its vague lyrics, became emblematic of a city that had lost its lustre and exposed for the world to see. The irony was that the track was written before 9/11 even happened but that mattered neither here nor there. Music is ultimately - despite the artist’s intentions - what we make of it and so it can be hard to overstate the significance of The Brother Moves On releasing A New Myth after deep personal grief - the loss of founding member Nkululeko Mthembu - and the country’s shared grief in Nelson Mandela’s passing. But their success is not a consequence of unfortunate and inexplicable events, their success is in being able to distill the entire miasma of a country from our uncertainty, fear and greed and string those together into a moving testament of an album. The timing only confirms how necessary this evaluation of our society is.

Musically, the album flows with such assured confidence and purpose it could be easy to forget that they are a young band. But there is a drama and spectacle to every fraught note that Siyabonga Mthembu holds in his tenor that feels like a force of nature in itself. Filled with subtle flourishes and flickers of guitar squall, the album grabs you and demands your attention right from the a cappella ‘Everything Will Be Okay’ up to the 23-minute closer ‘Jam for the Bear’ that darts course and style right the way through it. Importantly and unlike so many South African contemporaries, they are not afraid to step down and write music about what really matters: the people of this country. It is an anomaly that a country that is as ideologically conflicted as South Africa has not had a vibrant group of musicians to speak about that journey, and TBMO steps up into the ring with the acerbic wit of ‘Party@parktownmansions’. They’re speaking with such force and clarity that it is easy to label them one of the voices of a generation - a non-homogenous and multi-faceted group of children of the Old Myth. They would probably say otherwise, but at a time of such public soul-searching they are the only ones speaking with such honesty and hope for us to fertilise this New Myth. Whatever it may be. And at a time of their own undoubted private soul-searching, they were the only ones brave enough to do so. That is such an overwhelming triumph and despite or as a consequence of their intentions, A New Myth is now emblematic of a country.- Kevin Minofu -

"South Africa, it’s Time For a New Myth"

8.50pm on December 5 2013 – that was the time that Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela died. As President Jacob Zuma announced it just before midnight last Thursday night, I wondered what I was doing three hours earlier.

I had been watching the Proteas whip India in the first one-day game of their tour of South Africa. India were the first team South Africa played in 1991 when we were welcomed back into international cricket after Mandela’s release from prison the year before. I had the volume down, because at the same time I was listening to the new album from Johannesburg art collective The Brother Moves On. It is titled A New Myth and was released on the same day Mandela passed. Kind of like Bob Dylan releasing Love & Theft on September 11, 2001.

I was reading the liner notes as I listened and I remembered getting stuck on the lyrics for the band’s first single, PARTY@PARKTOWNMANSIONS. A protest song with lyrics like “Believe in this revolution and not this party”, it naturally piqued my interest. This band loves to play with the personal and the political in their music.

”I’m eating sushi in paradise with whoever /And loaded cause it don’t last forever / The chivalry of whisky on her lips / She’s lost in the cars it’s the sound of her hips,” sings Siya Mthembu.

It’s a song mainlined straight from the corrupted soul of our country staggering towards 20 years of “democrazy” as the band calls it in the liner notes, referencing Fela Kuti, of course. The band explains that the song is not “anti-ANC” – that’s “so 1998”. What follows is their explanation. Bear in mind when the band wrote the liner notes, Madiba had not passed.

It speaks to the ideals of the liberation movement and asks what we fought for if this is it. With no clear party to vote for, we’re inundated with so-called “apathetic voters”. The song is sung in the voice of such an apathetic voter who wants to vote and wants to get involved in the political process but understands that the caliber of our parties declines with every election – either that or we as citizens have not come to understand our value in this free and democratic country. Our country celebrates 20 years of democrazy next year, and in the very same year we exercise the democratic right for which our elders fought. The difference this time is that the party that has been running the country is in trouble. The youth’s leadership (Julius Malema and co) are themselves seen to be part of the same ruling elite that has undermined the momentum of this dream set in action by the fall of the Berlin Wall and the release of Nelson Mandela. This song speaks of the condition of being the kids of the transition – the born frees – who are asking the ruling party and all partyies involved to clean up their act as #thereisnoparty.

Friday morning, December 6, and the country seemed to be in shock; television and radio stations were wall-to-wall Mandela. But, trawling bars from Hyde Park to Braamfontein on that evening for after-work drinks, it seemed like South Africa was just going about business as usual. We hit Melville at about 9pm to catch The Brother Moves On. The band members were wearing their by now customary tights and were crammed along a wall in the cramped space of The Lighthouse. They had just returned from a tour of Cape Town.

“No matter how hard hearted you are with a certain old man and his choices,” says Siyabonga Mthembu, the band’s front man, “today we get to mourn.”

Kush - TBMO
Nkululeko Mthembu

The Brother Moves On recently lost a founding band member, Nkululeko Mthembu, who died a few weeks ago at the age of 27. Mourning is something they are intimately familiar with at the moment. I found Mthembu’s tone interesting; in the past he had openly vented his frustration at the negotiated settlement that resulted in South Africa finding itself where it is in 2013. The fact that the majority of the economy and the country’s land is still in white hands lies at the heart of the failure of Mandela’s vision for a rainbow nation.

But politics aside, the band is killing it. They are tight; they are well-oiled machine. The dual guitar attack from Zelizwe Mthembu and Raytheon Moorvan urges the band onwards as the rhythm section of Ayanda Zalekile on bass and Simphiwe Tshabalala on drums holds down some thick funk grooves.

A bit later in the gig, Mthembu gets into a more abrasive frame of mind, openly talking politics between songs. The crowd encourages him. He talks about the politics of the unrecognised comrades who fought in the struggle only to be left high and dry when the transition happened. He talks about his parents and their role in the fight against apartheid. He talks about the fact that there really appears to be no one to vote for in next year’s election. He talks about the fact that millions of black South Africans are still living in abject poverty.

“We were told to take back the power. We chickened out,” spits Mthembu.

As the country is numbed into submission with wall-to-wall anecdotes about how everyone who met Madiba thought it was just a wonderful experience, this gig felt like a sanctuary, a place devoid of reductionist thinking that turns Mandela into the man who saved whites from black vengeance. No wonder Mthembu is poking fun at the Night of the Long Knives.

“There is a white family out there fucking out [on fear],” he sneers. “This song is dedicated to ‘die Nag van die Lang Messe’,” says Mthembu. “We are sharpening our pangas, and those who do not have pangas are sharpening their rocks… We are organising this logistically through BBM (Blackberry Messenger).”

The crowd is in hysterics; it’s great to laugh in this sad time. The fact that there are South Africans out there who believe in the Night of the Long Knives, just shows you what a crazy fucked up country we call home. But I can’t help wondering perhaps this band has a message for all of us, especially at this time.

Perhaps the death of Mandela is a time for us as a country to write ourselves a new myth. Perhaps we need to discard Mandela’s Rainbow Nation ideal because it has failed. For how many years now have South Africans been talking about the “stillborn” Rainbow Nation? Perhaps we need to stop looking backwards and start looking forward. We need to face up to the crisis of leadership the country faces, move on from booing Jacob Zuma to actually voting him out of power or placing enough pressure on the ANC to do the right thing and recall him. If the ANC will not listen to the public, then we must make them listen. The status quo cannot continue because the land, shares and money are still largely owned by a minority of white South Africans.

US President Barack Obama, speaking the day after Mandela’s passing, said South Africa was a country “at peace with itself”. He referred to this as Mandela’s legacy. I wondered which country he had visited. Oh, wasn’t he in Cape Town last time he was here? -

"The Brother Moves On releases A New Myth"

Johannesburg outfit The Brother Moves On have finally released a full-length album, their first after two EPs and a series of loose songs floating on the internet. We had a very brief conversation with frontman Siyabonga Mthembu during a listening session this past week about the significance of the album, especially following the death of founding member Nkululeko Mthembu.

What was the motivation for this gathering today?

We wanted to play to a bunch of our friends — the people we hardly get to see — to purge the fact that a brother of ours has passed, and the fact that we need to move on and release an album in the same month without a stop. We needed to touch base before we set out and go play far away again and this helped; it was exactly that healing.

Please speak a bit on the album.

The album is weirdly enough entitled A New Myth. It was titled this while Nkush (Nkululeko) was alive. It was first gonna be The Greatest Hits and we thought we’re not that kind of band. It’s not an album that’s gonna be about buying my mom’s first house, it’s for a group of people who need to know this happened, and that group of people needs a new myth. The space we find ourselves in the world, in our country, in our very lives — it’s a very difficult one. We need a new myth, our old ones are lies to us now, and we know it, it’s obvious.

But why is it that we fail to accept that these old ideas are dying?

Because we haven’t gotten a new one yet… -


The Golden Wake EP [2012]

1. Agbal Meditation
2. Mhleli Wami
3. The Black Diamond Butterfly
4. Dagiwe
5. Babalaas
6. Wenu Wetla

ETA EP [2012]

1.Good times [radio edit]
2. Ya'khalimbazo [radio edit]
3. Good times [inner city edit]
4. Ya'khalimbazo [inner city edit]
5. Good times [A million things remix]
6. Good times [DJ Mshega remix]

A New Myth [2013]

1. everything is going to be okay
2. the mourning after
3. a long way from home
4. sikelela
5. zwagitation
6. party@parktownmansions
7. amagugu
8. these bones will rise
9. jocksauce
10. hossanna
11. jam for the bear



The Brother Moves On is a South African performance art ensemble from Johannesburg, Gauteng. Founded somewhere between the years 2008 and 2010 by broad-based artist Nkululeko Mthembu, TBMO began as a self-proclaimed art movement mainly of graphic and fine artists and since began incorporating instrumentalists for the live performance environment. The name The Brother Moves On is a grammatical misconfiguration of The Brother Mouzone, a fictional character in the American television drama series The Wire. In their emerging stages, the movement interrogated the notion that members were each an impermanent part of the process. Hence the derivation of the name The Brother Moves On.


The Golden Wake is the first musical offering from The Brother Moves On. Performed and recorded at the SABC media park for a live studio audience, The Golden Wake tells a fictional tale of a young South African villager named Mr. Gold. The Golden Wake as a performed piece is a staging of a funeral for the character of Mr. Gold. Audience members are invited to the wake of this funeral and throughout the performance are introduced to other characters from Mr. Gold's life. Much of the thematic of The Golden Wake deals with the idea of Gold as a representation of value and interrogates this global idea of value as a charade. 

ETA EP [2012]

ETA [expected time of arrival], The Brother Moves On's second EP, presents two radio singles as a preamble to the ETA. Good Times personalises the miners experience as a cathartic exercise in the wake of the Marikana miners' strike. Yakhalimbazo is an ode to the self-defense unit that used to police Caleni Kalambazo section in Tembisa between 1990 - 1993.


A New Myth [2013]

A New Myth, the first full length offering from the band, was their primary project for 2013 and speaks primarily of hope in the face of adversity, death and forgiveness. The idea that "reconciliation begins with the self" is at the forefront of the thematic of "A New Myth". Recording for the self produced album began in January of 2013 and was released on December 5th 2013, incidentally the same day that Mandela passed away. The band also suffered the loss of founding member Nkululeko Mthembu on the 11th of November. This incidentally the day that the album was completed. "A New Myth - a vital catharsis for us personally - is a gentle call to action for each of us, not a war cry like during many of our performances. There is only so much warring one band can do and nothing can be fixed in time and space forever."

Band Members