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Attempts at Healing

by Ts’eliso Monaheng / Images by Ference Isaacs / 25.04.2012

At 21 years old, Kyle Shepherd burst into the South African jazz conscience without prior warning. Following in the footsteps of heavyweights such as Marcus Wyatt, Andile Yenana, and Zim Ngqawana (whom he would collaborate with in the near future), Shepherd demonstrably proved that he is a presence worthy of reckoning. A couple of years down the line, coupled with culturally-fulfilling work and collaborative social exploits with the likes of filmmaker Dylan Valley (Afrikaaps), as well as Aryan Kaganof and the late Zim Ngqawana on “Exhibition of Vandalism”, we sat down to discuss identity, journeying through sound, culture, and survival in contemporary South African society.

Mahala: What is the significance, time-wise, of your new project South African History !X?

Kyle: For a long time I’ve been interested in the history of South Africa, and the history of my ancestry and lineage, and trying to understand it. And also trying to uncover the truth behind it because, as you know, a large part of our history – especially the history of people of colour in this country – has been supressed and buried alive in many ways. So I’ve been trying to uncover it in an attempt to just know myself and understand myself, and understand our country as a whole. And I’m still on that mission; it’s proving to be quite difficult because these things are pushed so deep. I wanted to create an album because it is a document that sort of throws it in time forever; I wanted to create an album that is dedicated to that history and uncovering that history.

It definitely is not an easy thing, but do you feel that with this album you have begun the journey to re-discover the history of the First People of the land?

Well, I don’t think one album of music can do the history of the First Nation people or the ‘indigenous people’ any justice, but it’s my humble attempt at acknowledging the respect I have for the history. There’s only so much you can do in an album because it’s also still a m

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