The men behind the music

Somewhere between Bazil Coetzee's childhood penny-whistling and Abdullah Ibrahim's highbrow intellectual jazz, a new sound was born.

Basil Coetzee

"From a young boy experimenting with the penny whistle his meeting with [Abdullah] Ibrahim, at the time known as Dollar Brand, led to the start of a life in music that took him to various parts of the world."

- "Coetzee, anthem of the revolution", Cape Times, March 13, 1998


Robbie Jansen

"[Robbie] Jansen is self-taught. His work with Dollar Brand and Basil Coetzee in the 1970s introduced him to jazz audiences in many countries. He is now a leading figure in Cape jazz."

- "Robbie Jansen", <>, downloaded October 9, 2007


Abdullah Ibrahim

"I [Abdullah Ibrahim] used to use very eloquent language. Then I realised that hardly anyone understood what I said. It was only when I met Basil Coetzee (tenor sax), Robbie Jansen (alto sax), Paul Michaels (bass) and Monty Weber (drums) that I finally found jazz musicians prepared to play traditionally based music - and that's how Mannenberg finally got through."

- "Reunion", Leadership, October 1990


That rare combo

"[Basil] Coetzee toured and recorded extensively with Brand [Abdullah Ibrahim]. Together with Robbie Jansen they created the unique brass sound of the group Pacific Express, inspiring younger Cape jazz musicians in Cape Town."

- "Robbie Jansen", <>, downloaded October 9, 2007



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
You′ll need the Adobe Acrobat PDF reader to view these lesson plans. Download it here.
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