Sausage Film Company
Sausage Films produces audio visual works for better accessibility of South African Jazz and freedom culture to a include wider young and old audiences across gender, age, and colour.
Sausage Films was formed in 2020. It is a collaboration between Struan Douglas, author of Story of South African Jazz Book Series, published by afribeat.com and multi-media producer, poet and military veteran Vusi Mchunu to elevate the stories of South African Jazz and freedom culture. Paying homage to the pioneers and legends of South African Jazz and freedom who left a legacy of sacrifice, self-expression, wisdom and bravery.
- South African Jazz Audio Visual
- Liberation History Foundation
- Freedom Memory and Heritage
Sausage Film Company Executive Summary
The Story of South African Jazz has played a central role in the development of the multi-cultural and globally relevant South Africa we have today. South African jazz has had several generations of strong musical development in all corners of the world and has a rich potential for making an impact on future generations in historical, heritage and music education.
The intention of the Sausage Film Company is to launch a series of South African Jazz audio visual episodes to share the mentorship, humanity and intelligence behind the unique style of Jazz thinking, being and living that has developed out of South Africa.
This is both a historical legacy project respecting and honouring the greats of our jazz story and it is a living heritage project, showcasing the dynamic roots and routes of this music.
Sausage Film Company lends itself to an online (social media, app and website) platform for learning more about SA jazz. This will be presented in a modern, multimedia, youthful and exuberant way.
Primary Goals Sausage Films provides an inclusive baseline research to South African Jazz, as a musical, social and economic platform. Sausage Films aims to alter the stereotypes. Gender, race, class, socio-economic standing, region and ability/disability are replaced with an inclusive, allencompassing accessibility.
Sausage Films presents a style of “Jazz Thinking” centred around Change. Jazz in South Africa has triumphed. It has healed the identity crisis, isolation, political oppression and depression.
Sausage Films aims to bring upliftment through knowledge sharing to an all-inclusive music, arts and culture community. Sausage Films aims to showcase South African Jazz as a unique musical language.
Sausage Films aims to expose and connect to the universal appeal of South African Jazz, that is being expanded in many regions around the world. Sausage Films aims to document the past, present and future appeal of South African Jazz. A knowledge foundation built on the paths of those that have walked before and those that continue to pave bright futures. Sausage Films aims to provide an audio-visual platform to educate young and old on this indigenous knowledge that is South African Jazz.
Sausage Films are in production for a series of films aiming to connect South Africans and music lovers all over with this unique story called South African Jazz.
Sausage FilmsTelling African stories
Vusi MchunuFounding Director
Struan DouglasFounding Director
About the directors
Vusi Macingwane Mchunu is an author, historian, poet and cultural activist. He brings a mentorship approach to African indigenous knowledge systems, through creativity. He has helped transform many cultural heritage spaces around the country and is a jazz afficionado. Vusi holds a Master of Arts degree from the Free University of Berlin. He has been Executive Chairman of House of Memory(2007-2014). This heritage consultancy provided professional solutions to clients in the heritage, museums, exhibitions, public programming and tourism experiences sector for Africa and the world. Vusi has been Chief Director Heritage for the Department of Military Veterans. His books are Stronger Souls, Pipe Dreams and Pleiades-Isilimela. He is a cancer survivor. His M.A. thesis from the Free University of Berlin, Germany ,was: The Harlem Renaissance (1920 - 1935) in New York and the Sophiatown Renaissance in Johannesburg (1944 1966) and the permanent exhibition, ‘Glimpses of South African Music’, at the Downtown Music Hub in Johannesburg.
Mchunu comes from Msinga, a grand area in Greytown. It runs through all the way to Dundee with towns like Kidsdrift, Tugela Ferry. And within it you get all the people. Zondi which is on Vusi's mother’s side, Ngubane, these are big nations. Mthembu, Mchunu, Mabazo, Majozi. These are big nations on that line. The Mchunus have a historic bone to chew with the Zulus. We are from the same progenitors Nkosinkulu, Ntombela, Qwabe . But Shakas spiritual father King Dingiswayo of the Mthethwa was out to vanquish all the clans. Shaka fulfilled this duty by destroying eNgonyameni, the Mchunu Palace of King Macingwane. We, like the Ngcobo at the time of King Dingane, were rooted out of Zululand into present day Greytown and Msknga-uThukela Valley. Till this day we do not know the remains of King Macingwane are. A sore point with amaChunu. Another fleeing section went as far as uMzimkhulu River and are called Macingwane, speaking isiBhaca and isiXhosa.
That is why in the Isandlwana Battle, the Mchunu King Phakade was part of the British army. He died there also.
Co Founder of Umzansi Arts Centre
On Vusi Mchunu’s return from 11 years exile in Berlin Germany in 1993, with German NGO funds, he co-founded the Umzansi Arts Centre (UAC) catering for arts, culture, heritage youth development in Clermont & KwaDabeka townships. Education and training activities in the UAC included visual arts classes with Ken Godfrey, an industrial design lecturer at the Durban Technikon, developing a music band with iconic musicians, Sipho Gumede and Busi Mhlongo, developing a Zulu dance ensemble , Ukhozi, trained by legendary instructor uMthantalala, and rehearsals for a musical with dance, drama and song, “Full Peace Dream - Uxolo kaNcane”, written by Vusi Mchunu, Saturday young girls and boys storytelling and dance with maskanda legend, Madala Kunene, and photography with ace Nigerian-cum-Berliner, Akinbode Akinbiyi.
Following the self-development teachings of Steve Biko, UAC, emphasised that we were first community members, before getting sophisticated through acquiring arts skills. UAC collaborated with local NGOs in Clean-Up campaigns, in free displays of their artistic capabilities, and hosted 2 highly successful Community Arts Festivals, with FNB as the principal sponsor. The festivals saw community art groups from Chatsworth with Bharata Natyam classical Indian dance, from Wentworth, Lamontville and KwaMashu. Calling back the pre-Apartheid community of Clermont/KwaDabeka, that had Coloured and Indian families in the mix. The highlight for UAC was a Transnet-sponsored residence and flight to the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, UAC was a toast of the festival with their colourful musical and variety show, “Full Peace Dream- Uxolo kaNcane”, an allegory to address the raging IFP versus ANC war in KZN at the time.
UAC launched the Clermont & KwaDabeka Popular History Project, by firstly prioritising the elder community members as respondents in the series of audio-visual interviews. They were vanishing books and libraries. The 30 or so UAC students, participated in a hands-on fashion in the research, the recording, transcribing and translations. A sample of those covered in this phase include business people, community leaders, a first Postmaster, traditional healers and Zion church leaders and Christian church leaders. The Lutheran Evangelical Church in particular, as Clermont was created from parcels of freehold land sold by the Berlin Mission Station of Christianenburg, exclusively to African, Coloured and Indian community members, in 1932. On his next visit to Berlin, Germany, Vusi Mchunu went to the archives of the mother Berlin Mission Church, and discovered boxes with files on this Christianenburg Mission. He was allowed to make copies, and this greatly enriched the research process.
Closer to home, Vusi Mchunu’s grandfather, Methodist/Wesleyan Preacher Simon Moyimoyi Mchunu, came all the way from eKhonifili, eMtshezi to Clermont, to mobilise his homeboys and relatives from Maphumulo, Msinga, emaChunwini, Ladysmith and eKhonifili to buy available land sold by the Berlin Mission. They were to sell their cattle, and add their savings from working in Durban and Pietermaritzburg for this purpose. Simon Moyimoyi co-created the Isivivane Trading Company as the formal business entity to manage this development. Many plots were bought in Clermont/KwaDabeka. The original documents, title deeds are available here. Vusi and his siblings are in the process of formally registering a family trust to take over the work of the now defunct Isivivane Trading Company, and manage these plots of land.
For a very long while Vusi Mchunu was part of the development of a heritage site in Pretoria called Freedom Park, where he was chairperson of the council for the last three years.
Freedom Park was a major South African liberation project proposed by president Nelson Mandela and then supported by Mbeki. It sought to tell the entire heritage story of South Africa but highlighted the resistance and contribution towards freedom by different people. It was 13 years in the making. And includes the release of a book that tells the entire story of Freedom Park. It is an amazing book with different people contributing, architects, landscape designers, and great African spiritual leaders like Credo Mutwa, Mankomo, Mama Suku from Bakatla in North West. It is a fantastic archive inside African centric buildings and space.
At the Downtown studios museum he put up a permanent exhibition, to celebrate the contribution of Downtown studios, called a “glimpse of South African music.” It is not the full story, but it is a large part of the story. Downtown Music museum is a first for a significant memoralisation, preservation and presentation of South African music in any city or any rural area or town in this country. Music in South Africa has been one of the serious main fronts of maintaining the identity when the colonial and other forces really sort to eradicate and erase the cultures of the peoples. Music has been the most reliable depository of all those facets of life as experienced through the African lunar calendar of festivals from the first rains in August, Simela, the festival of Nomkulwane which is the rainbow goddess, the daughter of the creator; to the first fruits festival in January through to July - the year end. Around all traditional festivals is music. In the African system, language, music, poetry, it is one thing. Musicians are really special caste of people; you can hardly feel their presence. A museum invites the audience to get close to this special caste of people called musicians.
Samora Machel Museum
Vusi Mchunu was founder of the Samora Machel museum which commemorated the memory of a great African leader and warrior, President Samora Machel of Mozambique who died tragically with an airplane crash in 1987 in a place called Mbuzini, bordering Mozambique. There is a monument there and a museum there. , carrying the story of Mozambique and the transition through the Frelimo government up until Machel’s tragic end. Like the Samora Machel museum, the big question is who killed Samora Machel? It is a great story and there were a lot of lies around what happened.
It is normal for heritage practitioners to visit the graves of such a great spirit. There the practitioner will introduce him/herself - kneel there and speak to the person humbly. The heritage practitioner will describe to the deceased person that they are going to be very close to their spirit for the period of the investigation. When those personalities accept the introduction - they get up and they go with the heritage practitioners. With Samora I was so frustrated. And I felt he seemed to be very distant from his own story. But he surprised me. He came immediately and he showed me very clearly that he is aware. He is with us and he is going to assist us. That is why we cracked it. But we could not go around boasting about it, the perpetrators are alive and they are very powerful people. Also Samora made it a point. The top military called me and told me to stop this investigation because they have been told that the perpetrators are aware and they are busy tracking who we are. Because the only language they know is to eliminate.
In the investigation for the museum, Vusi Mchunu and the other heritage practitioners cracked the source of the whole plot and the people who actually killed him. However, as the perpetrators are still alive and as they are very powerful people, Vusi Mchunu was advised by top military to stop this investigation as they had been told that the perpetrators are aware and they were busy tracking the heritage practitioners. The only language the perpetrators know is to eliminate.
Bethel Heritage Precinct
Vusi Mchunu also did the Bethel heritage precinct, right inside the town of Bethel, Mpumulanga province. It incorporates a public park and then a statue of a great rural trade union leader called Gert Sibande. It is the first statue of an African leader in the entire province of Mpumulanga and it also has got a 500 seater pavilion for meetings and celebrations within the park. A few metres up the road is the statue of Nokthula Simelane who was a student in Swaziland but born and bred in Bethel. She vanished tragically, abducted by the apartheid security police as she was expected of working with the ANC. On the road still you will walk into a huge complex which used to be the police station, the magistrates court, the pass office, the autopsy rooms and the actual mortuary. That entire space has been transformed into a living museum telling the entire story of what in the 50's used to be known as the potato boycott movement relating to the slave conditions under which prisoners were subjected in the Bethel potato fields.
It is a bitter story but the museum transforms the story; including also stories of great journalists and luminaries like Ruth First and Mr Drum himself, Henry Nkumalo. Also incorporated in this project are the African knowledge systems especially around the area where the autopsy room and the mortuary is. There is a tradition amongst Africans; if the person dies in war or in unknown circumstances, or vanishes, his/her spirit is restless and s/he needs to be brought back to a space where s/he can come to terms with the way s/he departed from the world and also to come to terms with the fact that he will play another role as s/he is no longer alive. These processes are usually done by people who know. They use a branch of a tree called Ulamhlinkosi Impahla, which is a branch you use to go to the site where the actual tragic end happened, and communicate with the name and the personality of that person and take that person with the branch to the site where s/he can find rest. Three Impafa trees are planted outside the museum. And they are growing very well today just to address those young African males who perished in those terrible potato farms in Bethel.
The perpetrators are still alive. One of them, who was an old man, retired. He used to be a top cop, shoot people, kill people. It took so long and was so hard to get him until Vusi Mchunu got him to agree to talk. A film crew and sound came in from Johannesburg to record even though the grumpy, old man was cursing the guys filming in. The beautiful story is that one of his victims was still alive. So in the resulting film you see the perpetrator talking and you see the victim talking and the rest is for you to decide.
The Centenary of the ANC
At the centenary of the ANC. Vusi Mchunu planted 5 life size statues of ANC. They are of the anti-apartheid leaders including the fourth president of the ANC, Josiah Gumede and then the 5th president and the founder of the ANC, Dr Pixley Semene and then the two statues of the anti-apartheid lawyers, Mr Griffiths Mxenge and Mrs Victoria Mxenge, in the house in Umlazi where she was assassinated. And, a beautiful statue of the anti-apartheid cleric, Dennis Hurley who founded a school for the deaf called Kwatinta. The statue is right there in the school. Memorial pillars were also created and books were produced on the project. A PhD on Josiah Gumede was converted into a book.
Heritage Training in Kraaipan
Vusi Mchunu has conducted heritage training as an entry point into arts culture and tourism training. He did a beautiful project in a rural area called Kraaipan in North West province, about 100km's from Mafikeng where the Anglo Boer War happened. The research combined the story of the Barolong people who are in the area, Boratsidi, with post matric young people. The project was in collaboration with the University of Wits history department to develop a course, including historical theory, actual site visits, photography, visits to important education centres like the history department of the University of North West and engagement with Dr Mbembe, who is a great historian.
In Heritage training local languages are always prioritised and English is used as the language for the greater visitorship. In Kraaipan, because the kids are mostly Tswana speaking; most of the projects took place in Setswana language, at the villages and with old people who spoke in Setswana. The work is in Setswana was translated into English. The outcome was fantastic, including the release of a beautiful book and a graduation day for the kids, and their parents hosted by the munipality. The first batch of young people were taken up by museums as tour guides in the North West province.
Cato Rest civil museum
Vusi Mchunu has worked to tell the great story of the Khumalo conflict in Tokozo township which happened in the 90's. The conflict was part of the elections and post elections, between the ANC and Inkhata freedom party. It was the conflict of the hostel people, which was the IFP and the community which was ANC.
As part of a feasibility study for a museum in the township there, for five months Vusi Mchunu conducted focus groups. This included site visits and photography with the idea to work towards a Cato Rest civil museum in Ekhuruleni. A beautiful publication came out of that, an incredible work and today the museum has been realised. It was the first project we did with a private individual but he failed to work with the municipality that they could give him land, that he can do the museum. The project was done and documented and ready for the funding to come through.
A lot of fantastic things happened in Ekhuruleni like Codessa, that was the new constitution and the change that came from it. As heritage practitioners, Vusi Mchunu and his team worked with the building industry professionals, structural engineers, electrical engineers, architects, landscape designers and did a full on feasibility study with drawings. A beautiful park that had water, a dam next to it with a fantastic design in Kempton Park was availed. The constitution process was led by Cyril Ramaphosa, and Rolf Meyer, and Ramaphosa called it the birth of a new nation. So from that came the idea of the birth of an actual birth, the ovary and the egg and so on. The building was an egg sitting on a nest ready to open. Included in that project was the release of a book.
A discussion with Vusi Mchunu
“In brief our experience and our work has been largely to marry our training because we are Western trained in terms of representation of history in terms of design and seeing things. But we work very hard to humble ourselves and learn from the African system people, the so called illiterates, the sangoma, the medicine man, nyanga, the elder and really get to listen to them and get guidance from them. We are very resolute to really speak the African vocabulary in our work. It was very important for us that the voice of the people can come through, unchained, unfettered, free. It is very important that the voice can come through. And also if there are different views, because we are very aural. Once you get into that space it is aural - as spoken - as in word and mouth. There are many versions, like the old pieces of what we have today, The Bible. There will be many versions of the life of the Christ. We wanted a possibility of presenting all those voices, challenging as it is.”
“Heritage is a mystery. If you subject yourself to the emotions, the passions, remembrances and the real voices of the people you are working on. It is indeed resurrecting of those people. Those people are great spirits. They will never die. Once through the heritage project you touch them, you work with them."
“It is usually the stories, the sensitive stories around the African oppression, resistance and liberation. This is the mystery of heritage.”
“Heritage work is a forensic investigation if you are serious about it. You get under the skin of this work because it deals with peoples lives, people who were erased from history. Now is the time for them to come through.”
“We inherited in this country a heritage landscape which is totally biased, totally apartheid outlooking, totally colonial outlooking, totally distorting, excluding, alienating our story; the story of the Africans. As advanced as we were in terms of the museum world in this country we were very primitive. Our work since '94 is to transform that landscape. We have developed a methodology from years of work in the transformation space. Our methodology unlike the people who have done the damage, is not afraid. We will never erase the colonial times, we will never destroy their statue, we will put them in a context. We will never erase. There are always versions to a story that enrich us, enrich our generations. Our work is in that space which is so restricted. To work so hard to get our voice as also part of the debates. The rest is for the next generation to take it further. At least we have laid the foundation for that.”
Struan Douglas is a South African based African cultural writer, performer, presenter, activist and educator. He has Honours in Philosophy and Religion from the Social Sciences Department University of Cape town, 1999. He studied music at University of
KwaZulu natal, Howard College, and has RSM5 in theory and trumpet performance Ukusa UKZN (2012). His website afribeat.com was launched in 2000 and remains a positive content portal for promoting unique African stories and realities through creativity.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Free-learning?
Free-learning is a programme developed by Sausage Films to make learning resources available to the future generations in an interactive and informative way. S.A Jazz is now in the schools’ education syllabus: IEB, Grade 11’s learn about Cross-over, Kwaito, SA protest music, Afrikaans protest songs and SA rock. Grade 12’s learn about SA Urban music, Ingoma ebusuku styles including mbube and isicathamiya and early jazz including marabi, vocal jive jazz, kwela and mbaqanga. They also learn about instrumentation, improvisation, rhythm, melody and harmony, marabi progression, characteristics, leading artists, and the socio-political context. The music feelearning programme is suitable to school curriculum for Grades 11 and 12, a bridging course to university and young entrepreneurs and covers many topics of S.A. music, including South African Jazz, traditional, indigenous, modern and futuristic sounds.
What is the feminine form of HIS-story?
People ask what is the feminine form of History. It is mystery; MISS-story. Sausage Films brings a focus to the deep mystery of the African way of thinking through a study of the diverse heritage traditions of the regions.
What is the Liberation History Foundation?
As a fighter for human rights, Graham Michael Lesch continued the traditions of his Baba Archie Gumede and Archbishop Dennis Hurley to help recognise the true heroes of the struggle. One of their missions was the liberation history foundation. Sausage Films continues this mission to bring a coherent synthesis to African liberation history.
What is jazz thinking?
Matshikese was the unique style of Todd Matshikiza – often quipped as “playing marabi” on the type-writer. His rhythmical writing style and the vivid music will be expressed through a documentary that covers the formation of that music in the 1950s. A unique South African style of “Jazz thinking” developed out of the role-model of Harlem in the United States. All African Jazz Musicals and the South African people expressed themselves in a style of “Jazz Being” that developed out of the community practices, social clubs, vital dances and human dramas of the various styles of music including marabi, mabokwe, itswari, and famu. The Jazz Spirit was expressed to the public and the world through musicals from all over the nation; namely King Kong All African Jazz Opera from Johannesburg, Umkhumbane from Durban and District Six from Cape Town.
How is Sausage Film Company contributing to Pan African Film?
Sausage Film Company draws on the IZAZI ZAKITHI philosophy of Professor Herbert Vilakazi to present an authentic knowledge, philosophy, vision and world view of the African existance, thereby protecting the human dignity, freedom, ecology, environment, health and democracy of the African way of life.