UbuntuFM's King Vusi Mavuthela talked to Saggy Saggila, the stage name of the legendary musician, songwriter and producer of note, Richard Siluma, cousin to legend Lucky Dube.
Richard was born in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. When growing up, he was influenced by his father Aphius Siluma who was singing Imbube music.
He left home 1976 for Johannesburg to pursue his musical ambitions. It was not going to be easy but luckily he landed a job at Gallo Records. His first job was at the warehouse where he was packaging music. That went on until he was given a chance to produce for artists.
Among those artists he had a chance to work was a Maskandi group called Ukhamba Lomvaleliso, Stimela and his cousin, the late muso Lucky Dube. He has also produced his own material in the 80's as Richie S. with popular songs like 'Change' and 'African Dance'.
It is interesting to mention how he was hooked up into Reggae. He fell in love with Reggae after attending a Jimmy Cliff concert in South Africa in 1976. This inspired him and from that moment and there was no stop.
He tried to introduce local Reggae productions but it was not easy to record Reggae at that time. He tried to bring his cousin Lucky Dube into recording Reggae but Lucky was hesitant at first to leave native Mbaqanga style. When he finally managed to record the "Slave" album (1989) with Lucky, it took the world by storm. You cannot talk about Lucky Dube without mentioning Bra Richie.
When asked about recording Reggae albums and songs after the passing of Lucky in 2007 which have similarities with Lucky Dube, Richard responds by stating that he is continuing with what he started many years ago. His contribution to Lucky Dube’s albums is immeasurable. His music is released under the name of Saggy Saggila, Saggy being English and Saggila is Zulu for 'knobkerrie', a weapon made out of wood used in past wars.
Richard has released three albums as Saggy Saggila thus far. The first was "Wanna be with you", followed by "Endless Love Racing" and "Truth Needs To Be Told". He has recorded what he calls 'African Reggae'. Music that speaks to different issues that affects people in Africa and beyond.
The cover of his latest album symbolizes the slavery period in which Africans were taken with to be sold to slave masters abroad. Africans lost everything, even their names and dignity. The Truth needs to be told about this dark period in human history.
The effect of copyright piracy being rife in South Africa and the closure of most of music shops has prompted him to distribute and sell his music on the street corners in towns. His music is doing well on the market and is also available online.
On performing live on shows for his fans, Saggy Saggila agreed that this is one area which he has not effectively utilized but he intends to perform live soon.
Thus, the story of Saggy Saggila - a Reggae man at heart - from whom we will hear more in the near future.