Category Archives: Blog

Remastered Reruns


As part of our process to migrate back episodes from the first two seasons of the show to Mixcloud, we’re taking the opportunity to remaster them where possible to bring them up to spec with the better equipment and skills we have acquired since starting the show back in 2013. Today we bring you three such resurrected episodes from our second series. Our long-time listeners will be able to enjoy them again with better sound, and our new friends will have the opportunity to catch up. We certainly enjoyed listening to the shows again after a couple of years.

The three shows latest shows to be remastered and moved to Mixcloud are:

South African podcast stirs Rodriguez controversy


Shocking distortions in award-winning documentary “Searching For Sugar Man” exposed

Searching For Sugar Man, the Oscar-winning documentary directed by Malik Bendjelloul “distorts facts and fabricates events” according to the well-known podcast series about South African music, “Tune Me What?”

In a controversial episode of the show, hosts Brett Lock and Leon Lazarus welcomed guest Professor Michael Drewett of Rhodes University in Grahamstown for a discussion about how the scripted narrative of the movie has distorted South African musical history at the expense of South African artists.

Professor Drewett is an international expert on censorship in music and a keen historian of South African alternative and protest music during the anti-apartheid struggle.

While making a point of stressing that Rodriguez – famous for such songs as ‘Sugar Man’ and ‘I Wonder’ – never made the claim himself, Prof Drewett noted that contrary to the films claims, Rodriguez was never banned in South Africa and certainly was not a leading anti-apartheid voice in music. In fact, some scenes in the movie were faked.

“The decision to discuss the fictional narrative in the movie was taken because we felt many aspects of it were creeping into historical records as fact,” said co-presenter Brett Lock. “For example, the wikipedia entry for the film claims that Rodriguez was a banned artist and that ‘harsh censorship’ made it impossible for South Africans to find out about him, while his own wikipedia entry claims that some of his songs served as anti-Apartheid anthems. None of this is true, and yet through repetition it is increasingly regarded as fact!”

Leon Lazarus noted that one of the effects of these myths is to “rob those South African musicians who made a real commitment to democratic change and opposition to apartheid of their rightful place.. and hand the mantle, undeservedly, to Rodriguez.”

Opinion on the show’s Facebook page was passionately divided between fans of Rodriguez and those who shared the view that Searching For Sugar Man did a disservice to the truth about the real musical heroes of the alternative scene in the 1970s and 80s such as Juluka, Roger Lucey, David Kramer, National Wake, the Asylum Kids, Mzwakhe Mbuli, Jennifer Ferguson, Kalahari Surfers, and others, all of whom are featured in the 90 minute show.

Ironically, the podcast was started 4 years ago after the presenters noticed people entranced by ‘unique’ story of a singer who was “huge in South Africa” but virtually unknown anywhere else. “We knew that this seemingly remarkable story was far from unique: It was the story of thousands of South African musicians – legends in their own country, but unknown to the world,” they said.

Their efforts in spreading the word about South African music to an international audience were rewarded when Esquire Magazine listed “Tune Me What?” as an “essential podcast”.

The show is available online at:

Further discussion is encouraged at:


We’re taking a few weeks off from the show and will be back in December to round off the season with a few special episodes. But of course all past episodes are archived so please feel free to catch up on shows you’ve missed or revisit your favourites. Tell your friends and help get the word out about South African music… it is the secret that should not be kept!

We’ve moved over to the Mixcloud platform recently, which is very stable and offers some professional features (like telling you what track is playing, for example). Mixcloud also offers free listening apps for iPhone and Android, or you can listen online, and even create a free account to track your favourite podcasts.

Check out our new Mixcloud profile here:

See you after the break!

Catch up with Tune Me What?

Catch-Up-with-TMWWell, we’re half way through Season 3 and it’s time for us to a week off to enjoy the summer. But it’s a great time to catch up on past episodes. There are now tons of past episodes of Tune Me What? – all available right here, or through Mixcloud.

Laugh along with some of our more zany themed episodes and dive right into South African music history with some of our special feature shows, or even meet some of the celebrities who have popped into our virtual studio to spin some of their favourite tracks.

Next week we’ll be back with a trip to the cinema, as we look at some great South African music used in movies.

See you again next week!


S03E15 – TMW Goes On Safari


S3E15 – TMW Goes on Safari by Tune Me What? on Mixcloud

Leon and Brett go on a musical safari, choosing some great South African tunes about, or inspired by (or for vague reasons named after) animals. Hey, the music’s great, so who really needs to find a reason to play it? The weekend starts here!

In this episode, we feature:

  • Amersham
  • Chris Letcher
  • Darius Brubek
  • Dear Reader
  • Juluka
  • Koos Kombuis
  • The Mahotella Queens
  • Piet Botha
  • Sharon Katz & The Peace Train
  • Soweto String Quartet
  • Valiant Swart
  • Via Africa

We really appreciate your feedback. We’re always open to suggestions and even requests! If you’re a South African musician living or touring internationally, do let us know about your concerts, album releases or tours – we’d love to give you a punt on the show.

Our email address is But most importantly, if you enjoy the show, tell your friends about Tune Me What?! You can find us on Facebook at

If you’d like to advertise on the show, drop us a line at

S03E07 – The Jazz Show


S3E07 – The Jazz Show by Tune Me What? on Mixcloud

Feeling a bit hot and bothered? Maybe a bit rough around the edges? Well, then you need something cool and smooth, and we have just the medicine. Even better than a vermouth on the rocks – sixty minutes of some great South African jazz, and a little blues thrown in, like mentholated spirits in a Martini…. all poured through a half-loaf of Leon & Brett.

In this show, we feature:

  • Abdullah Ibrahim
  • African Jazz Pioneers
  • Barney Rachabane
  • Basil Coetzee
  • Blues Broers
  • The Blue Notes
  • Dan Patlansky
  • David Kramer
  • Freshlyground
  • Gloria Bosman
  • Hannes Coetzee

We really appreciate your feedback. We’re always open to suggestions and even requests! If you’re a South African musician living or touring internationally, do let us know about your concerts, album releases or tours – we’d love to give you a punt on the show.

Our email address is But most importantly, if you enjoy the show, tell your friends about Tune Me What?! You can find us on Facebook at

If you’d like to advertise on the show, drop us a line at

Koos Kombuis analysed by Cambridge University

According to the BBC, South African musician, songwriter and poet Koos Kombuis is having one of his works included as part of a literature exam for students at Cambridge University in the UK.

How do they get past the fact that Kombuis writes in Afrikaans, you may be asking yourself.  Easy, the poem in question has no words. He called the work “Tipp-Ex Sonate”.


According to Mark Ford, a poet and professor of English Language and Literature at University College London, there is little point trying to decipher the text. He advises:

“I don’t think you could write an interesting long answer about the text. The pattern is not particularly complicated and there are only a handful of characters. A better strategy would be to put Tipp-Ex Sonate in a wider aesthetic context. Students could discuss the avant-garde tradition of anti-art,widely associated with the dada movement, which saw defacing or destroying artworks as a form of iconoclasm.”

Perhaps if Cambridge could arrange to have a jug of Tassies to hand, ‘Professor’ Kombuis would host a seminar to explain the work himself.

Freshlyground banned from Zimbabwe

The regime of Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe has banned South African band Freshlyground from touring the country. The president was angry that they mocked him in the video “Chicken for Change” which seems to criticise his stubborn clinging to power.

However, this has triggered a huge upsurge in views of their video on YouTube.

Freshlyground were, according to, due to play at the Harare International Festival of the Arts, but were refused entry at the country over inexplained ‘delays’ to the processing of their work permits.

“Chicken to Change” was originally released on the group’s celebrated “Radio Africa” album ahead of the 2010 Soccer World Cup, following which the band decided not to include Zimbabwe in their 2011 world tour.

At the time, Freshlyground lead singer, Zolani Mahoba, told the exiled opposition newspaper, The Zimbabwean:

“We had wanted to tour Zimbabwe but it would not be a good idea to do so following the issues around the song. The song is about Mugabe who is opposed to change. He is chicken to change.”

Three years later, Mugabe is still too “chicken” to change, and has a long and spiteful memory.


Esquire Magazine recommends Tune Me What?

It’s Official! We’re an “Essential Podcast”

We were very pleased and flattered to have been chosen by Esquire Magazine as one of “21 Essential Podcasts” in their “Best of 2013” review.

We’re delighted too that more people will be exposed to the vast and virtually untapped spring of South African music  available to the world – which of course is our primary mission.

If you’d like to see the full list – and discover some other great podcasts – you can get the digital edition of Esquire via iTunes.