Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Videos of South African Gospel Brass Bands, Part I

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part I of a two part series that showcases videos of South African Gospel Brass Bands. Each post showcases ten videos. I had difficulty limiting this series to a sampling of just twenty videos. There are many more videos of this type of music on YouTube.

Click for Part II of this series.

The content of this post is presented for religious, cultural, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

I'd love to learn more about this genre of South African musical performance. The summary statement of some of these videos indicates that the videos were filmed during a feast day. I'm not sure if this means a Catholic saint feast day, or some other religious feast day.

The title of one of the videos featured on this page [Example #4 below] indicates that the band is an "Apostolic pentecostal christian brass band (from) Tembisa South Africa". However, a viewer corrected that title writing that the band is from "St, Paul from Vaal". That name suggest that that is a Catholic denomination. Many of the other titles of these South African brass band videos give a Saint name as the name of the church to which the band is affiliated. Yet, the clothing attire of the females who march with the band and what appears to me to be a strict gender segregation of the band suggest that these bands are Apostolic Pentecostal churches. I hope that someone reading this can provide more information about the religious denominations from which these bands come.

Also, many South African brass band videos include the word "Majeremane". I don't know what "majermane" means. Is this the name of a city in South Africa, or an annual performance/parade of South African brass bands?
UPDATE: January 28, 2014
Hat tip to Anonymous January 28, 2014 at 9:13 AM for sharing this information as a comment to Part II of this series:
"Majeremane is the sotho name for "Germany" that is the nickname of the band, the church from which this band is from is ST Mirriam."

Thanks, Anonymous!

UPDATE: February 7, 2014
Here is information about the history of the brass band traditions in South Africa which explains the use of the name "Majeremane" and "Jeremane" by St. Mirriam's band:
"Apart from the church choir and the congregational hymn singing the brass band forms an integral part of our church music. This old Moravian tradition which started in Herrnhut Germany way back in 1734 was introduced to South African congregations with the dedication of the Genadendal Training School on 12th September 1838. Bishop Hallbeck and especially Rev. B. Marx played a great part in fostering the music talents of the newcomers. They had to perform in public primarily at the consecration of churches and schools where their brass sounds made a distinctive impression upon the listeners. On completion of their training they moved to other institutions where brass bands were duly established.

Accordingly Rev. R.D. Rasmus founded the Maitland Moravian brass band when he was called to Maitland as a minister in 1907. At church festivals held on the mission stations the brass band in particular was a powerful attraction.

Thirty years after the seed was planted at Genadendal another brass group was started in the Tzitzikamma region, not far from Port Elizabeth. In 1867 the Clarkson congregation received six brass instruments from brother G. Liliendahl in Neudietendorf. There was great joy when they played "Silent Night" on the church plain for the first time on Christmas Eve 1867. Once again Rev. B. Marx’s contribution was noteworthy...

With the emergence of numerous brass groups a strong feeling of closer cooperation resulted in the establishment of the Moravian Brass Band Union in 1951. The main objective shall be to promote brass band music in our congregations to such an extent so as to accede to the Biblical instruction found in Psalm 150 verse 3: "Praise Him with Trumpets." Furthermore the Union shall consist of two distinct branches: one in the Eastern Cape region and the other in the Western Cape."...
Here is information about the Monrovian movement in South Africa:
"The Moravian Mission was the first missionary society in South Africa when one of its missionaries, Georg Schmidt, established a mission station at Baviaanskloof (later renamed Genadendal = Valley of Grace) in the Cape Province in 1737. After some confrontations with neighbouring Boer farmers and the dominant Dutch Reformed Church, Schmidt was forced to leave the Cape. When the Moravians were allowed to return in 1792, the missionaries found remnants of the first missionary congregation still active. From Genadendal the mission spread throughout the Cape colony...

The Moravian Church in South Africa of today has two regions (Western and Eastern) and is largely confined to the old Cape Province. Even though it is an independent church, it has historical links to the Lutheran church going back many years. It is a member of LUCSA."
It appears that brass bands from various South African Moravian churches perform at annual saint feast days throughout the year.

(These videos are presented in chronological order based on their posting date with the oldest dated videos given first. There is no order preference for videos that are published on the same date.)

Example #1: South african brass bands

Tshepiso maiketso, Uploaded on Feb 5, 2010
gospel brass band

Example #2: south african church brass bands

Tshepiso maiketso Uploaded on Feb 5, 2010

Example #3: south african brass bands

Tshepiso maiketso Uploaded on Feb 5, 2010


Example #4: Apostolic pentecostal christian brass band , Tembisa South Africa

talkingdoguk,Uploaded on Oct 11, 2011
Viewer comment:
parbieful, 2012
"this is st.paul from vaal. not apostolic pentecostal Christian"

Example #5: st paul at Holy St John church

Dumi Mlotshwa Published on Sep 16, 2012

Example #6: Jerusalem Brass Band Mafikeng Nov 2012

Thams B, Published on Jan 4, 2013

Example #7: Reformed st.Johns - Ndwedwe Mission

Mazwi Blose, Published on Dec 22, 2012

Inkonzo yase Mahlabathini

Example #8: AIE HQ 2013 Msesi

Mad Cap Published on Jan 24, 2013

Example #9: Jesu Ditshiho

Matsomane Rakomane Published on Mar 19, 2013

Example #10: St John (prophecy)...Mafikeng feast

Tumelo Selolwane, Published on Apr 22, 2013

Mokete wa Rev Tambam

Click to find a post about "shout bands", an African American religious brass band tradition.

Thanks to all the band members who are featured in these videos. Thanks to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.

Thank you for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.


  1. I think 'majermanes' may refer to migrant workers. An article at this address []
    refers to 'Mozambicans who once worked in East Germany (known colloquially as "majermanes")'

    'Selemo se secha' seems to mean 'Happy New Year/Merry Christmas', at least in Lesotho.

    1. Thanks for your comment, slam2011.

      Here's the hyperlink to that article and the article's beginning sentence:
      March 2006
      Majermane leader attacked, (Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, 2006-03-17):
      "Splits have emerged amongst Mozambicans who once worked in East Germany (known colloquially as "majermanes"), with one group turning violently against Alberto Mahuaie, the best-known spokesman for the majermanes, and coordinator of the Forum of Mozambican Returnees from the GDR."...
      However, two words with the same spelling might have different meanings. I wonder if the term "majermanes" as it relates to South African brass bands means the same thing as the Mozambican use of the word "majermanes", i.e. What does "migrant workers" have to do with the South African brass bands?

    2. Fair point. Well, perhaps 'majermanes' is a general word for people in a procession...which could lead to its use for both protesters (the Mozambicans seem to have been demonstrating about a grievance) and brass bands celebrating a saint's day?
      Okay, struggling here.More research needed I think.

    3. More research is needed, yes, but thanks for (hopefully) starting the commenting about the meaning of that "majermanes". I haven't found any definitions online or any other discussion about that word.

      Btw, slam2011, you commented about the video (2013 Mokete Wa Leru). That video summary included the phrase 'Selemo se secha'. I have since moved to Part II of this series.

    4. Googling 'majermanes' gets a lot of hits specifically about migrant workers from Mozambique who returned from East Germany some years ago. But, this seems not to be relevant here.

      There is also, though, a large group of migrants from Mozambique who work in the South African mining industry. In fact Mozambicans form the most significant portion of South Africa mining's migrant workforce.

      So, I'm guessing these Mozambican migrants in SA also identify themselves as 'majermanes'. And since Mozambique was formerly a Portuguese colony, it would make sense that many Mozambican miners in SA would be Catholic, and therefore would be participating in church festivals.

      This is my best guess. I enjoy guessing. Still, if someone out there is from South Africa, they might set us straight?

    5. Great research! Thanks slam2011.

      I added a comment to the YouTube viewer comment thread for Example #1 on Part II "2013 Mokete Wa Leru" (the video who's summary statement includes the phrase "Majeremane (Selemo se secha)". I asked for information about that band, a translation in English of that video title, and information about the denomination of that band.

      Hopefully, someone will respond there or here.