Double-platinum status

When Mannenberg's creators first tried to sell the tune to producers in Johannesburg, nobody was interested. They went ahead and made demo copies themselves, which they sold over the counter at Rashid Vally's cult record store.

"When I [Elliot Makhanya] was a rookie entertainment reporter, I was given an album to review. And that album was Abdullah Ibrahim's Mannenberg, featuring Basil Coetzee on saxophone. I excitedly dashed home and placed the LP (there were no compact discs at the time) on my rickety turntable. The sound that emerged from the turntable was awful. And instead of blaming my beloved turntable, I turned the heat on the album. I didn't give it a ghost of a chance to survive the competitive market. And what happened? The LP went on to achieve gold and platinum status. The townships were musically set on fire by Ibrahim, and Basil Coetzee on saxophone."

- "Mooi loop, ou Basil Manenberg Coetzee", Elliot Makhanya, Sowetan entertainment reporter, paying tribute to Basil Coetzee on his passing away, March 17, 1998


"According to Mr Vally, in 1974 they sold about 5 000 units of Mannenberg from his shop, because the record companies did not want to assist them. They sold each LP for R8.89. Later, the song was produced in different formats, for example, cassettes and compact discs. He reckons, cautiously though, that the song could by now have sold close to one million units, considering that six or seven years ago it was produced as part of the Best of Abdullah Ibrahim. He strongly believes that it has achieved double-platinum status."

- Researcher Tshepo Moloi, based on a telephonic interview with Rashid Vally on July 1, 2007


"[Abdullah] Ibrahim describes the album as, in many ways, a follow-up to Mannenberg, the late-1970s release which first etched this artist into the popular consciousness of South Africans and the world. Mannenberg, the single, was a jazz composition that turned into a true pop song, gracing several pop charts..."

- "One more time, Dollar plays out of Mannenberg", Business Day, September 25, 1998


"So now we're in Johannesburg, nobody wants it [Mannenberg]. Rashid [Vally] has this little record shop... So I say to Rashid, 'Why don't we just make demos and put loudspeakers outside and play them?' We sold 10 000 over the counter without covers. We sold 10 000 in two weeks, without covers - it was incredible!"

- Abdullah Ibrahim, in an interview with Sue Valentine, on how they managed to sell Mannenberg


back to the Mannenberg memorial page

"Mannenberg catapulted musicians' minds into what was really happening."
Abdullah Ibrahim
Abdullah Ibrahim
Picture: © Sunday Times


Interviews as historical sources

In this lesson plan, students are asked to think about how music enables people to express ideas and to affirm the cultural diversity of South Africa. They will be asked to reflect on the value of interviews as sources.

Lesson plan
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Archive Photo Gallery
Images of the men who created Mannenberg.
Artwork Photo Gallery
Check out the “sound” memorial marking the recording of Abdullah Ibrahim’s famous anthem, Mannenberg.
Audio Archive
Listen to Abdullah Ibrahim and others reminisce about what gave rise to their famous tune.
A 360º view of the memorial on Bloem Street, Cape Town.
Basil “Mannenberg” Coetzee 1
Part 1: Basil “Mannenberg” Coetzee explains why they named the song after a Cape Town township, and how it became an anthem of the struggle against apartheid
Basil “Mannenberg” Coetzee 2
Part 2 of a 1998 SABC3 documentary on Basil “Manenberg” Coetzee
Curious to see and hear the Mannenberg memorial?
SABC2’s Curious Culture magazine programme goes to Cape Town to report on the Mannenberg memorial
Launching the Mannenberg Memorial
SABC2’s Weekend Live programme reports on the launch of the memorial to Mannenberg