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Soprano Marimba : Luzuko Nqikashe

Tenor Marimba : Mark Skele

Bass Marimba : Bonisile Cyril Goni

Drums : Eugene Thandekile Sambata

Percussions : Thando McKenzie

Saxophonist : Mawethu Jackson Kellem

Vocalist : Solomon Sakabula


Abikondela Marimba Band was formed in the year 2000. Members from different areas (townships) across Cape Town gathered together and decided to form a marimba band. Eugene is the founder member and the leader of the band. It started in the dusty streets of Khayelitsha, a well known township in Cape Town. After a long search for employment with no success in getting jobs, we sat down and decided to do something to keep us busy. Fortunately we all had musical backgrounds and talent, and we started getting together for jam sessions. We received a very positive response from the community. 

At first we had nothing, no assets and no instruments. We used our pocket money to rent the instruments for rehearsals. We rehearsed for a whole year till we were ready to perform publicly as a band. We decided to honor two icons who fought for South Africa to be what it is today, Steve Bantu Biko (a freedom fighter) and our first democratic president Nelson Rholihlahla Mandela. That is how we got the name “ABIKONDELA” - it’s a combination of their surnames: BIKO and MANDELA.

In the year 2001 we played music on the streets of Cape Town at St. Georges and Green Market Square. At that time we had no permit to perform in public. Several times we had to run from the police and hide with our instruments not to be caught.There were times when we were caught and had to pay a fine for performing without a permit. However we did not give up. Our motivation to carry on was not the money, (although we needed it) but for the love of music and sound. Suddenly people started to respond to our music and then we got small gigs, and the little money we earned was saved in order to buy our own instruments.

By the end of the year 2002, we heard about auditions for performing buskers at the V&A Waterfront. Then we started preparing ourselves by rehearsing two times a day for four hours. The day for the auditions arrived and we went on stage extremely

nervous as you can imagine as this was our first performance in front of a big crowd. We did our best and fortunately we were officially accepted as performing musicians at the V & A Waterfront. After six months we recorded our first CD which we promoted and sold at our performances. The CD is very popular with the local South Africans as well as with international tourists.

Now in our 14th year together as a band (2014) and with the help of Red Bull Studios Cape Town we have just recorded our new CD and we are in the planning stages to promote the CD and the band to the international market. We also have Harold Schenk as our international representative (Harold is the Lead Representative for the South African American Business Chamber of Commerce and also musician and producer) to promote and introduce us to the international market. Our vision and mission is to introduce our Marimba style music to a global audience by doing international performances and also be an inspiration to other young musicians. We are also interested to collaborate with other international artists.


During the period 2003 to 2012, we have been performing around South Africa. Some of us have been freelancing with other bands and performing internationally. We have performed at corporate events, functions, weddings, festivals, birthday parties, charity events, etc at Cape Town International Convention Centre, international hotels, Artscape, Franschoek Winery, Hermanus Whale Festival etc.

In 2012/2013 we performed in Dubai at the GLOBAL VILLAGE for 6 months, representing South Africa till the 31st of March 2013. In April 2013 we went to perform in Bahrain for the F1 Grand Prix.