Iconic Maskandi musician Bheki Ngcobo affectionately known as ‘Ihashi Elimhlophe’ says the revival of traditional music in the Eastern Cape will renew morality amongst the youth.
Ngcobo has been addressing scores of people attending the Isingqisethu Cultural Festival held at Port St Johns sports Ground. Ihashi Elimhlophe criss-crossed the province in search of the next best crop of recording Maskandi artists.
Born at Kwa Biyela in Empangeni, Ihashe Elimhlophe discovered his talent when he was 8. He started with a makeshift tin guitar with three strings, following on the footsteps of his uncles. He was then discovered as a teenager by a popular band in the 1970’s. These artists say Ngcobo’s expertise will help them realise their dream.
“We experienced a lot about music, we went to one of the most famous studios at Down town studios, every artist dreams to be there, our dreams are coming through now.”
“We face a huge challenge of not getting support and therefore taking this art for granted and not having someone to guide us so now we are excited we are being mentored by Ihashi elimhlophe”.
Eastern Cape Arts and Culture MEC, Fezeka Bayeni says she hopes this initiative will inspire other young artist around the province to not give up on their dreams. She says they will increase this number to promote more young and upcoming Maskhandi artists.
“Anyone who is in the music industry would confirm that this is a great start. These nine artists are from different districts in the province so we started on a massive footing and the intention is to roll it out to other districts where this music is not prominent so the intention is to develop these artists working with ihashe movement”
Ngcobo says he wants to afford the same opportunity to up and coming musicians.
“When you talk about Maskhandi music, KZN and Eastern Cape are leading provinces, that is why I started developing KZN artists and now I’m here but we are also planning to travel to other provinces because we want to revive this music”.
Ihashe Elimhlophe says he will roll out this initiative in other provinces to promote Maskhandi music.
Meanwhile the Eastern Cape government has indicated that it’ll put concerted effort to ensure this project is sustained.