Lead Guitarist, producer, penny whistler and composer Marks Mankwane was born in 1939 in Warmbaths, which is now called Bela Bela, in Northern Province, South Africa, situated 100 km from Pretoria. He started playing guitar at the age of twelve and learned to play the penny whistle later. Mankwane moved to the Pretoria suburbs where he worked as a labourer. During his time off on weekends, Marks would busk for shillings in the streets, where he eventually met other labourers who played penny whistles: West Nkosi, Lucky Monama and Joseph Makwela, who he met at the soccer grounds next to Pretoria General Hospital in 1957. When Marks joined the trio, Joseph stopped playing the rhythm guitar and switched to the penny whistle. Together, they would gather to practise at the Hartebeesspruit Train Station in the evenings after work when the station was quiet and there was little traffic; however, they were often interrupted by the police. Mankwane, along with Makwela, Nkosi and Monama, formed a band called The Tower Boys. 


Monama, Billy. 2020. Interview with Joseph Makwela, 18 March. Introduction To South African Guitar Styles Vol.1

Monama, Billy. 2020. Interview with Lucky Monama, 19 February. Introduction To South African Guitar Styles Vol.1

Monama, Billy. 2020. Interview with Rob Allingham, Wednesday 1 July.  Introduction To South African Guitar Styles Vol.1

Mojapelo, Max. 2009. Beyond Memory: Recording the History, Moments and Memories of South African Music, p. 294. South Africa: African Minds. 

198 Staff reporter. 2008. ‘When boss leaves the workshop’, The Mail & Guardian, 27 November.