Jazz guitarist, singer and television star General Jabulani Duze was born in 1924 and died in 2002. He grew up in Johannesburg’s George Goch Township (Eastern Native Township). Duze was a neighbour of the great jazz saxophonist and composer Kippie Moeketsi. His jazz guitar playing was influenced mostly by American jazz guitar players like Freddie Green, whom I mentioned above.

Duze began his career with the Rhythm Clouds under Albert Palmer and eventually managed that group from 1946. He had short stints with the Band in Blue, the Jive Bombers and the Harlem Swingsters before forming the Shanty Town Trio featuring him on guitar, Boycie Gwele on piano and Jacob ‘Mazala’ Lepere on bass. Thandi Mpambani (now Klaasen) joined them on vocals. The Shanty Town group, whose name varies depending on the number of members at the time, began initially as the instrumental backing for the Manhattan Brothers, and it’s probable that they were behind the instrumentation of many of their early Gallotone recordings, starting as early as 1947. Duze’s Shanty Town Trio also appeared in the classic 1949 film, Jim Comes to Jo’burg (African Jim). The group recorded a number of tracks on the Columbia and HMV labels around the mid- to late 1950s, sometimes with the vocalist Thandi Klassen and sometimes as backing for other groups such as the Gay Robinaires.


Monama, Billy. 2020. Rob Allingham interview, 10 February.

 flatinternational – south african audio archive – Jazz. Available at http://www.flatinternational.org/template_volume.php?volume_id=388.

Allen, Siemon. ‘Notes’, Flatinternational, South African Audio Archive. Available at http://www.flatinternational.org/template_volume.php?volume_id=388

Falola, Toyin and Tyler Fleming (eds). 2013. Music, Performance and African Identities, p. 201. New York and London: Routledge.