Todd Matshikiza was a South African jazz pianist, composer and journalist who died in 1968. As a journalist, he was a contributor to South Africa’s innovative Drum magazine.
His musical skills were celebrated. One of his top compositions is the musical King Kong. On September 25, 2023, he became Google Doodle. In this post, we will see who Todd Matshikiza’s parents Samuel Bokwe Matshikiza and Grace Ngqoyi Matshikiza are.
Who is Todd Matsukiza?
Todd was born in Queenstown in the Eastern Cape province, South Africa. It’s no surprise that Matshikiza is so successful in her music career. His family is famous for this profession. He was the son of Samuel Bokwe Matshikiza and Grace Ngqoyi Matshikiza, the seventh of seven children. Matshikiza also graduated from St Peter’s College in Rosettenville, Johannesburg, and obtained a music degree at Adams College in Natal, and a teaching diploma at the Lovedale Institute in Alice.
Before beginning his new career as a musician, Todd was a teacher at Lovedale, where he taught high school English and Math until 1947. During this time, he composed songs and choral works, Blending traditional African style and classical European style. ; especially Hamba Kahle, which has become a standard work for choral groups throughout South Africa. One such composition was performed on the occasion of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain’s arrival in Bulawayo in 1946 and at the Johannesburg Music Festival in 1950.
Todd Matshikiza’s career
Jazz music and composition remained his main interests; however, to supplement his family’s income, he worked briefly for Vanguard Bookstore in Johannesburg. From 1949 to 1954, Matshikiza was a committee member of the Association of African Artists, which aimed to promote music by visiting artists from the towns.
In 1952, Matshikiza was invited to join Drum magazine, which, under new editorial direction, aimed at a more critical readership. Matshikiza, along with investigative journalist Henry Nxumalo, Ezekiel Mphahlele, Nat Nakasa, Bloke Modisane and others, became one of its first writers.
His jazz column covered the town scene, especially Sophiatown, where he commented on the likes of Kippie Moeketsi and Hugh Masekela, both of whom played for The Jazz Epistles. Matshikiza covers life in the town in his regular column “With a Lid”. Among his close associates, his writing style became known as “Matshikese”, and was characterized by its innovative and playful use of syntax and musical style. His relationship and friendship with Drum Associate Editor Anthony Sampson lasted until the end of his life. He worked briefly for the Golden City Post.
His love of classical music inspired him to compose the choral work Makhaliphile in 1953, which he dedicated to Trevor Huddleston, who had worked with the less favored communities of Johannesburg. This is a combination of classical, jazz and traditional themes. In 1956, he composed Uxolo (peace), composed on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the founding of Johannesburg.
In 1958, Matshikiza composed music and some lyrics for the jazz musical King Kong, which had an all-black cast. Depicting the life and times of heavyweight boxer Ezekiel Dlamini, popularly known as “King Kong,” this musical was a huge success in 1959.
It attracted mixed-race audiences and was performed in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, before being staged at the Prince’s Theater in London’s West End in 1961. Matshikiza’s interest in boxers partly because he was assigned to report on the trial. by Dlamini. King Kong launched the international career of Miriam Makeba, who played the beautiful queen of the Back of the Moon, a shebeen (illegal bar) of the time in Sophiatown.
Matshikiza composed the music for Alan Paton’s play Mkhumbane, which opened in Durban on 29 March 1960. The musical, in a-Capella form, recounts the trials of a grassroots community whose daily life is Their days are affected by forced displacement and the actions of gangsters.
Google Doodle celebrates Todd Matshikiza
On September 25, 2023, Google Doodle honored Todd for his incredible career and contributions to music and journalism in Africa. He was born in 1921 and died in 1968.
Who are Todd Matshikiza’s parents?
Todd is the son of Samuel Bokwe Matshikiza and Grace Ngqoyi Matshikiza, the seventh of seven children. As stated, Todd was born into a musical family. His father, Samuel Bokwe Matshikiza played the organ in the Anglican Church. On the other hand, his mother was a famous soprano. His sisters are Grace (Girlie) and Winifred, and his brothers Gordon, meek, Sipho and Themba. All children in the Matshikiza family were taught music from an early age.