So here’s how I know Megan Bandle. Mandela was made president in 1994 and it’s fair to say South Africa was experiencing a post apartheid honeymoon period. The year after I performed Jo’burg at Mega City Wharehouse. In 1996 I was part of the first artist in residency programme on Robben Island. The artists slept in the prison officers quarters.
Since that first visit back in Jo’burg a group of black and coloured Yeoville bohemians took me to heart. We’ve remained friends ever since. We were all between twenty and forty. Their whole lives were spent under apartheid. They were artists, lawyers, TV presenters, actors poets, singers, dj’s, and they came with a political knowledge and a reason to party unsurpassed by anyone I have met to this day. Megan Bandle was one of them.
In 2003 I made a BBC radio documentary on The last poets. I came here to Harlem, to Gil’s apartment/crack den in Harlem around the corner from where I am now. He told me how he met the Last Poets when they performed at Lincoln University in the late sixties. Their advice was what made start his band with fellow student Brian Jackson. Fast forward to 1998 Gil and Brian travelled to South Africa for the first time to perform their 1975 hit record Johannesburg for the first time in Johannesburg South Africa. Brian Jackson played too and he fell in love with a Bohemian woman who was part of the arts set of the new Jo’burg, the new South Africa – megan bandle. They have two beautiful children. This morning I meet Megan at Café Latte on Malcolm X Boulevard and we talk and laugh for two hours straight.