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Bajove Dokotela

Let the good Dr [Philip Tabane] inject you in three ways; music, words, video. Records for Bajove Dokotela mix selected and blended by Ntone Edjabe, quotes from Sello Edwin Galane‘s thesis, The music of Philip Tabane – An historical analytical study of Malombo music of South Africa, and documentary by Dumisani Phakathi and Khalo Matabane.



Introducing Tabane’s Malombo

Malombo is essentially a Venda word that means spiritual healing deity. Used as a singular noun in Tshivenda, it is called leombo. In Sepedi, it is called ‘lepopo’. Without going much into the anthropological and etymological extrapolation of the concept, it suffices… to point out that malombo is a known concept and phenomenon common to African healing practice in South Africa.

Tabane’s Malombo music, though stemming from the indigenous malombo healing force, uses electric guitar, Africa drums and a flute. Coplan (1982) calls this ‘urbanisation of African music’. On the contrary, the research views Tabane’s Malombo as a different format of arranging indigenous music. Tabane’s format of music could be viewed as a re-interpretation of the elements of an indigenous art form using additional western instruments over and above African drums and voice. Tabane exemplified the possibility of expanding the frontiers of African music, rather than to merely urbanise it. This explains why Tabane after naming his band and music Malombo, he worked with the same name of the music even if he altered the format thereof. His new arrangement of the music to date is still called Malombo.


Galane, SE 2009, The music of Philip Tabane – An historical analytical study of Malombo music of South Africa , DMus thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed 130404 < >



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