When you mix Fana Zulu, Bheka Mthethwa, Qhubekani Mthethwa and Sipho Mabena what do you come up with? The best bass guitar player in Katlehong, Vusi Thabatha, born in Vaal and grew up in Katlehong is an upcoming bass player who fell in love with bass at the age of 17. The 25-year-old has played for Gospel greats like Puleng March, Lebo Sekgobela, Sibusiso “SbuNoah” Mthembu amongst others and is not relaxing, instead, he wants to play for big African and American Gospel stars. The first time he heard the sound of the bass guitar was when he bought himself Pastor Benjamin Dube’s DVD Recording In His Presence, the bass was played by Tshepo Mohlala, one of the most loved guitarists in the Gospel Industry. He understood his love for bass when he dropped out of the Vaal University of Technology while he was doing his last year in Tourism Management. He then applied for Musical Performance, studying Bass as an instrument at Central Johannesburg College.
Vusi is a self-taught guitarist who learned by downloading videos for beginners online. He was fortunate enough to get a bass guitar as a gift from his pastor. He introduced the sound of bass to his church members and this was during a period where bass guitars were known by a few people, he has been blessing them with the beautiful sound since then and still is. Before going solo he sang and played for a few Gospel, Jazz and Afro pop bands from Katlehong, Thokoza, Vaal and a few other townships in Gauteng.
The theory that people have about musicians being killed by drugs is one that still freaks parents out, Vusi’s parents did not support his decision to become a musician because they were afraid of losing their child to the “monstrous” celebrity world. He decided to study music anyway because it was his “calling” as he refers to it, so I guess going against your parents is worth it sometimes, Blue Monkey is not condoning it though. For Vusi it’s not just about the playing, but bass is his way of communicating with his God, because he grew up in church and that is where a lot of things were taught to him. He says he would like to play for Hugh Masekela because he is one of the greatest musicians in South Africa.
Bass for beginners videos gave this guy a start ahead in life and if he was able to learn through that, South African youth can too.