PEOPLE’S JAZZ:  A passer-by on Bloem Street in Cape Town runs his fingers along the musical memorial created by artists Mark O’Donovan and Francois Venter in celebration of the legendary jazz anthem, Mannenberg  PICTURE: GARTH STEAD © SUNDAY TIMES 

Mannenberg by Abdullah Ibrahim 

October 9 1934 — 
In June 1974, Abdullah Ibrahim, with Robbie Jansen, Basil Coetzee, Monty Weber, Morris Goldberg and Paul Michaels, was recording here at the old UCA recording studio under the watchful eye of producer Rashid Vally. In a moment of inspiration, Mannenberg was born. "There was magic in the studio that day," says saxophonist Jansen. Recorded against a backdrop of forced removals as the apartheid government finalised its destruction of District Six and evicted coloured families from homes throughout the city, the title track fused Cape jazz with African marabi to produce a melody that became a beloved anthem of hope and resistance for many South Africans.

Freedom song



Tune into the Mannenberg archive 
Explore the political atmosphere that pervaded Cape Town at the time that Mannenberg was composed, and discover why this jive became such a huge hit, setting the townships on fire and filling bitter hearts with hope 

» Who are Mark O’Donovan and Francois Venter?
Mark O’Donovan is a qualified electrical engineer and the founding director of the Odd Enjinears, an outfit that makes ’music machines’

» The light bulb moment: The artists’ concept
Seven metal pipes have been moulded, welded and mounted outside the building that housed the original studio where Mannenberg was recorded in 1974

Abdullah Ibrahim PICTURE: © SUNDAY TIMES
» A national anthem
Named after a Cape Flats suburb, the eclectic jazz tune, Mannenberg, became an anthem for the freedom struggle in the dying decades of apartheid

» Passers-by invited to share a few pipes
Musical memorial gets people playing, writes Bobby Brown

» "I write what I know best"
This interview with Abdullah Ibrahim taps into the musings of a man not usually given to many words

Images of the men who created Mannenberg
Check out the “sound” memorial marking the recording of Abdullah Ibrahim’s famous anthem, Mannenberg
Listen to Abdullah Ibrahim and others reminisce about what gave rise to their famous tune
» Map 
How to get to the memorial
» Panorama 
A 360º view of the area where the memorial to Mannenberg is located
» Video Archive (1) 
Part 1: Basil “Manenberg” Coetzee explains why they named the song after a Cape Town township, and how it became an anthem of the struggle against apartheid
» Video Archive (2) 
Part 2 of a 1998 SABC3 documentary on Basil “Manenberg” Coetzee
» Video Archive 
SABC2’s Curious Culture magazine programme goes to Cape Town to report on the Mannenberg memorial
» Video Archive 
SABC2’s Weekend Live programme reports on the launch of the memorial to Mannenberg