Passing of the late Josh Sello Makhene

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02 Jul 2014

The Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) has learnt of the passing of a great South African Jazz Legend and a Son of the Soil, Josh Sello Makhene. He left South Africa as part of Todd Matshikiza’s highly successful King Kong Musical in 1960-61. Because of Apartheid and lack of opportunities in South Africa, he decided not to return home until 1947 when the Meropa Tour (a Theatre Production) came to a triumphant halt.

Bro. Josh, as he was affectionately known by his contemporaries, drew  his musical inspiration from African Choral harmonies fused with jive, jazz, doo-wop and American ragtime. As a result of his vocal depth, knowledge and creativity, he was recruited by the late Joe Mogotsi to join the Manhattan Brothers. When the Manhattan Brothers stopped performing, he took up residence in London and further pursued his love of music by forming his own, Sounds of Soweto (a choir comprising of other South African artists).

Ntate Makhene (a multi-faceted Performer: Songwriter, Vocalist, Director, Choreographer and Talent Scout) flaunted his authentic showmanship and performed on the grandest stages of the world in the United Kingdom, Portugal, France, Scotland, Germany and Australia to name a few. He further performed and created music with international and other South African musical giants like Julian Bahula, Caiphus Semenya and Letta Mbulu, Hugh Masekela, David Serame, Dumisani Mabaso, Sam Hlatshwayo, Ruby Morari, Sanza Loate (Fellow Manhattan Brothers Member), Lucky Ranku, Pinise Saul, Mervyn Africa, Thebe Lipere, Condry Ziqubu, Peggy Phango and many others.

During the span of his career, Josh Sello Makhene also became part of the several groups and theatre productions/acts such as Ipi Ntombi, African Jazz and Variety, LoSix, Jordan Brothers, Glee Singers and Dancers and the Woody Woodpeckers.

In 1988, Mr Makhene was one of the South African musicians who participated in the Free Mandela Concert at Wembley Stadium, London.

In 2006, the National Film, Video and Sound Archives conducted an Oral History interview with him, Joe Mogotsi (late founder and leader of Manhattan Brothers) and Rufus Khoza. That same year, former Minister Pallo Jordan honoured the Manhattan Brothers as one of the musical group that immensely contributed to South African music.

Mr. Makhene, was a man who never ceased to amaze the world with what South Africans had to offer in the entertainment industry.

His Memorial and Funeral Service will be held as follows:

Date: 5 July 2014

Time: 8:30 – 12h00

Venue: Vosloorus Civic Centre Max Botha Street (Next to Naledi Hall)

From the Civic Centre it will proceed to Westpark Cemetery.

May his soul rest in peace

For enquiries kindly contact Mr Sandile Memela: 0828003750 or email