Still Grazing: The Musical Journey of Hugh Masekela, Jacana Media
With winter having firmly set in, what better way to pass time than with a good book? Here’s a list of some music-related books that may make for some fascinating reading.

Sankomota: An ode in One Album, Geko Publishing

Sankomota: An Ode in One Album - A Reflective Essay is the result of many years of research and obsession about the music and band of Sankomota. The book is a slim offering of insights into an album recorded in Lesotho, Sankomota by the band Sankomota. Recorded in 1983, this album became an instant classic.


Written by Phehello J Mofokeng, his essay touches on mythology, performance, language and politics of this important band that was at the frontier of anti-apartheid and freedom music.

In this essay, Mofokeng attempts to paint a broad image of the musical landscape of the time and unveil the musical obsessions of Sankomota. This book is not definitive, but it is a worthwhile addition to the body of literature and to an ethno-musical understanding of SA’s musical history.

“I think it is impossible to write a complete book on a titanic band such as Sankomota. An Ode in One Album is important, but it is still only introductory. I hope it will open the gates to a broader discussion and deeper understanding of our history, but from a musical point of view,” said Mofokeng.

Odyssey of an African Opera Singer, Penguin Books

An inspiring story of one man’s rise from poverty and oppression to success and fame in the international world of opera.

It is a difficult undertaking for any human to escape the cycle of poverty, but to do so from one of the world’s most complex political systems, with a brutal history of segregation and deprivation, is nothing short of a miracle.

Yet Musa Ngqungwana’s story doesn’t end there. Not only did he manage to extricate himself from his impoverished past, but he found his way to the great opera houses of the world, attaining immense success in an art form that bears no resemblance to his upbringing or culture.


Ngqungwana’s life and career are proof that any human can overcome the devastating effects of discrimination and poverty.

Odyssey Of An African Opera Singer chronicles Ngqungwana’s journey from the townships of South Africa to the world stage.

It is a story of hope, showing how humans, no matter their situation, have the opportunity to claim their gifts, develop them and use them to help others in need.

A captivating story that will inspire anyone who has ever had a dream.

Still Grazing: The Musical Journey of Hugh Masekela, Jacana Media

Although published in 2015, Still Grazing will make for interesting reading, especially because the icon died earlier this year.


The book shares rich detail of the life of world-acclaimed jazz giant Hugh Masekela, infused with love and loss, sex and drugs, exile and revolution. He survived it all, with wit, passion, abundant talent and wisdom.

How to be Famous

A novel by music writer Caitlin Moran tells the story of how Johanna Morrigan (aka Dolly Wilde) has it all: she is 19, lives in her own flat in London and writes for the coolest music magazine in Britain.

Her star is rising, just not quickly enough for her liking.


Then John Kite, Johanna’s unrequited love, has an album go to number one. Suddenly John exists on another plane of reality: that of the Famouses, a world of rabid fans and VIP access.

Johanna lacks the traditional trappings of fame (famous parents, mind-scorching hotness, exotic sandals, etc.), so she does the only thing a self-respecting Lady Sex Adventurer can do. She starts a magazine column critiquing the lives and follies of the Famouses around her.

But as Johanna skyrockets to fame herself, she begins to realise that with celebrity comes sacrifice, and hers may mean giving up the one person she was determined to keep.

For anyone who has been a girl or known one, who has admired fame or judged it, How to Be Famous is a big-hearted, hilarious tale of fame and fortune - and all that they entail.