In Memoriam

In Loving Memory of Dr. Alport Kaliso Mhlanga Astazio
25TH MARCH 1945 TO 26TH JUNE 2012
Maitisong, 9 July 2012


When they sit down to write the history of Maru-a-Pula School in Botswana, inside the many acres of space they will need to chronicle the institution’s storied past and present, a small portion, perhaps a corner, will be dedicated to Alport Mhlanga. They will say he was a good man, grandfatherly, not averse to a good laugh or conversation tinted with his unique, if not odd, sense of humor. They will say he was a man at once gregarious and intensely private; available to all yet reserved; ubiquitous yet inscrutable. And those who saw him do what he loved and knew best, looming behind his vivacious band of young marimba musicians, will say he was a master musician, a great teacher, and an inspiration. Alport Mhlanga, was a composer, ethnomusicologist, educator, and marimba maker, performed and taught marimba since 1964. He was the mainstay at Kwanongoma College of Music in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe for many years before moving to Maru-A-Pula School in Gaborone, Botswana, where he taught music for 25 years and was the Director of Marimba and Musical Outreach programmes.

His work in the music industry is internationally recognized as evidenced by the many seminars, performances and workshops that had a global reach stretching from Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Canada, Sweden, USA across 25 States, Brazil, Finland and Portugal. His expertise in Marimba earned the affectionate title: KING OF MARIMBA!

Alport’s music has been captured on three marimba CDs entitled “Vibrant Zimbabwe,” “Kwanomoto,” and “Tears of Joy.” The latter won an award under ‘BOMA2002’ (Botswana Music Awards 2002) as the best marimba group and was nominated for an award under SAMA (South African Music Awards) 2003, which
was held at the Sun City in South Africa. Alport’s music travels took him to Brazil, Canada, Finland, Mozambique, South Africa, Sweden, the United States, and Zimbabwe.

He is survived by his wife Mrs. Simomotshwane Margaret Mhlanga Astazio a constant companion for over 41 years. He also leaves behind three children: Thandi, Dumisani , Daniel & 10 grandchildren. His remaining family also includes his father.

Mr. X, Baba, Mr. Dr. Mhlanga Kaliso Astazio will be greatly missed and remembered.

Rest in peace.