Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Tsonga Disco: Penny Penny

Those of you who have been following the recent posts on the Kings of Tsonga Disco may have noticed a bit of a theme developing. First we had Paul Ndlovu who reigned until he was cut down in his prime. He was succeeded by Peta Teanet who reigned until he was cut down in his prime - dead at the age of 30. Fortunately that is where the theme ends. His successor, Penny Penny - so good he named himself twice - continues to thrive.

I refer once more to the indispensable Max Thamagana Mojapelo, from whom we learn that Mr Penny (or Penny to his friends) was born into a family of 68 children and 17 wives in the village of Hanani. At that point he was known by the rather more prosaic name of Eric Kobane.

The next bit of his story, as told by Max, reminds me of "Patches" by Clarence Carter: "Upon the death of his father his mother who was a farm worker could not afford to send him and six other siblings to school... [actually I stand corrected - Patches never quit school because that was Daddy's strictest rule]... At the age of nine he had to work in the tomato plantations of Mooketsi".

By 19 he was working at the West Driefontein gold mine where "he won many trophies for break-dancing before the harsh working conditions drove him back home". Thereafter he moved to Johannesburg where he supported himself through such jobs as fast food chef and street hawker until the fateful day when he was working as a cleaner in a music studio and he met Joe Shirimani - regular readers will know of my admiration for Joe and his genius as both producer and performer. Joe took him under his wing and the rest is history.

After all that, you will be impatient for some music. Here are a couple of tracks from Mr Penny's album "Juri Juri" (I don't know the date but it is early-mid 1990s I think):

"Ndziri Ndziri" - Penny Penny

"Mabiribiri" - Penny Penny

And here is Papa Penny in action with Shaka Bundu:


  1. Shaka Bhundu used to rock, you have no idea!! You took me down to memory lane right there!!

  2. Hi there!
    Thank you for uploading some Penny Penny's songs! I grew-up listening to this!
    Could you please manage to find out some more?

  3. Hello I love your article is very good ... should put more information on your topic
    Tsonga Disco: Penny Penny

  4. I grew up listening to this song. Eventhough I don't understand the meaning I enjoy the beat and its african beat. wounderful song.

  5. Music is universal. I did not understand the words but I feel the Music. I learnt to dance to this songs.
    Since I left Africa in 1996 I have being searching for this songs. I want to buy them but don't know where to get them. If anyone knows please let me know. This is my email: pabundu@gmail.com.

    Wonderful Music.

  6. This looks absolutely perfect. All these tinny details are made with lot of background knowledge. I like it a lot. This was a useful post and I think it is rather easy to see from the other comments as well that this post is well written and useful.

  7. I have ten albums from this artist.Every time I play his songs I can see myself walking down the memory lane in the 1990's.