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: