Victor Ntoni

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Victor Ntoni
Victor Mhleli Ntoni.jpg
Victor Mhleli Ntoni

Died28 January 2013
ResidenceJohannesburg, South Africa
OccupationRecording artist, jazz
Years active1970–2013
Children3 sons, 3 daughters
Musical career
GenresBassist, composer, Jazz, arranger
InstrumentsVocals, guitar
LabelsGallo, Barclay
Associated actsPaul Simon, Miriam Makeba

Victor Mhleli Ntoni (1947–28 January 2013)[1] was a South African musician, Among his notable achievements, Ntoni co-founded the Afro Cool Concept band in 1989 and received a nomination for the 2004 South African Music Awards SAMA and scored as well as arranged the music in The South African Songbook -- SA Folklore Music. His best known song is the hit “Wa thula nje”.[2] At the time of his death Ntoni had become a legend in the jazz community.[3]

Life and work[edit]

Born in Langa, Cape Town, Ntoni grew up in the townships of Cape Town and first learned to play guitar before switching to double bass. As a teenager, he played with McCoy Mrubata in his band The Uptown sextet. He was self-taught before he received a scholarship to study at the Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1976.

As musical director of the musical Meropa Ntoni went on a European tour in 1975. Through the drummer Nelson Magwaza he met Abdullah Ibrahim, on whose album Peace and other recordings he was involved with between 1971 and 1979. He formed a sextet with Kippie Moeketsi, before going to study at Berklee School of Music, and played with Dudu Pukwana in 1978 (Diamond Express) and in 1979 with Hugh Masekela, also writing compositions including "Nomalizo".[4] Furthermore, Ntoni worked for Mike Ratau Mkhalemele, Iconoblast and Ezra Ngcukana.

In the late 1980s, Ntoni was the musical director of the Carling Circle of Jazz festival. In 1989 he founded the band Afro Cool Concept with Darius Brubeck, with whom he toured in North America, Italy and Thailand. At Nelson Mandela's release from prison, Ntoni wrote the song "The People Want Mandela". In the 1990s he was with Hilton Schilder, Vusi Khumalo and Khaya Mahalngu in the experimental band Iconoclast. He also played with Ringo Madlingosa. Ntoni's album Heritage (2004) received excellent reviews and was nominated in the category "Best Contemporary Jazz Album" for the South African Music Award (SAMA). He wrote and arranged the music in The South African Songbook -. SA Folklore Music(National Heritage Council, 2012).

In 2014 Ntoni was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga in silver.[5][2]

He died following a heart attack at the Helen Joseph Hospital in Johannesburg on 28 January 2013, survived by his wife and six children.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "SABC News - Jazz legend Victor Ntoni dies". 28 January 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  2. ^ a b Evan Milton (3 February 2013). "RIP Victor Ntoni: True gentleman of jazz". Evan Milton: Words on music (and miscellany). Retrieved 2015-06-19.
  3. ^ a b "Legend Victor Ntoni dies at the Helen Joseph Hospital in Johannesburg | South African History Online". 28 January 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  4. ^ "Victor Ntoni Discography". Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  5. ^ "Jazz bassist Victor Ntoni dies aged 65". 29 January 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2015.