musa manzini

Musa Manzini during his brain tumour operation in 2018. Image: Courtesy of Musa Manzini

Musa Manzini needs a miracle: Funds critical for jazz star’s brain op

The 50-year-old guitarist is currently at the Helen Joseph Hospital in Johannesburg where he’s being treated for his brain tumour.

musa manzini

Musa Manzini during his brain tumour operation in 2018. Image: Courtesy of Musa Manzini

Jazz veteran Musa Manzini is once again facing an uphill battle with R200 000 needed to fund his life-saving surgery. 

The jazz guitarist made waves in 2018 by gently playing his guitar during a rare “awake” six-hour operation to remove a brain tumour. Although people normally stay awake during a craniotomy, it was heartwarming that Manzini got to do what he loves best during the critical surgery. 

Watch Musa Manzini plays guitar through brain surgery

Manzini however is still dealing with the same benign tumour and has undergone four surgeries in total since 2006. 

Raising funds for Musa Manzini’s brain surgery

According to the Daily Sun, his former manager and family spokesperson Mark Roth says around R200 000 is needed for the operation and that they’ve already received R30 000 from the South African Music Rights Organisation (Samro). 

“Musa was admitted to Sandton Medi-Clinic on 29 June but due to COVID-19, he hasn’t worked in almost two years and has no money.”

Mark Roth

Due to Manzini’s lack of medical aid funds for tumour removal, he was subsequently transferred to Helen Joseph. 

Fellow Durban-born jazz legends, Madala Kunene and Zamo Mbutho have also been spearheading fundraising efforts on Facebook, as well as SAfm radio presenter Kgomosto “KG” Moeketsi. 

According to Roth, the private hospital was ready to operate but there was no money for the procedure.

“Right now, he’s lying there in excruciating pain. We are appealing to the public, the government and everyone out there to help us raise money for his surgery.”

Jazz guitarist Musa Manzini. Image via Facebook @MusaManzini

Early stages of Manzini’s tumour

Musa’s medical complications with his brain tumour started in 2006 when he had a seizure after returning from a tour. 

When told he had a tumour in his brain by doctors, he went under the knife and was successful. The tumour reappeared in 2013, after another successful operation, Manzini moved to Indonesia for four years and the tumour reappeared in 2017 when he was working as a lecturer at UKZN. 

Career highlights of a jazz great

Manzini grew up in Inanda, north of Durban, and started playing the guitar in high school.

I asked the old man if he could get me a guitar and he said, only on conditions that you pass all of your subjects in school with a distinction. So I did that and the old man bought me a guitar, that’s how it started,” Musa said in an interview on Carte Blanche in January this year. 

Manzini went to study at the University of Cape Town (UCT), where he obtained a Bachelor of Music degree and spent another three years as a part-time lecturer.

He’s worked with South African jazz legends, such as Selaelo Selota, Judith Sephuma and Jimmy Dludlu among others. 

Manzini versatility on the electric, acoustic and double bass guitar saw him work as a musical director with Mfundi Vundla and become a scorer on iconic soapies like Generations and Backstage.

On top of his game

A few years before his tumour was discovered, Manzini was on top of his game.

From 2000 to 2004, Manzini released three albums — New Reflections, Tributes and Memories and My Bass. Three albums in the space of five years is an impressive return and it’s one of the many reasons why he’s so revered in South African jazz circles.

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