The magnificent Mabi Thobejane, master South African drummer

The young Gabriel had no calling to blow his horn in a church and defied his mother who insisted he become a priest. Her tendency to break up his makeshift drum kits led him to hang about the tanneries and artisanal workshops, collecting materials he fashioned into high-quality hand and mallet drums for which he later became so famous. From early on, Mabi pursued whatever “arrested” (bopha!) him full force without equivocation or compromise. And he was to serve a life sentence in the total reinvention of the highveld’s African percussion.