“The love of jazz music was a seed planted from listening to my father’s large collection of jazz” declares Bhudaza
I didn’t believe Bhudaza is his real name, I just thought it’s a stage name like other individuals involved in music, but without hesitation he proved to me showing me the passport that bore details that included his birth year of 1961 on September 23 at Mankoaneng Hlotse, in Leribe District.
Bhudaza Mapefane at 21 sat on a piano chair to put into action the jazz tunes he grew up listening to from his father’s collection. A self-made pianist, in 1985 Bhudaza exploited his piano skills playing trials and lessons at Victoria Hotel and Maseru Casino Hotel with Jazz Combo; a jazz group made up of David Mochoko Mapefane (his older brother), Petter Rakhomo, Tau Malebo and Mpho Manoto.
In 1987 the jazz mogul enrolled at Mmabana Cultural Centre in Mmabatho, to study for a Certificate of Theory of Music, Piano and Saxophone; majoring in jazz improvisation, that is where Bo-Mapefane hitmaker joined the school’s orchestra to refine his art. The multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and composer enjoys extraordinary careers such as being a performer, composer, arranger and educator.
“The love of jazz, has provoked my conscience to educate people about jazz and how to play the instruments” said enthusiastically.
After graduating in 1989 Bhudaza joined Sankomota; the crew composed with jazz heavyweights such as Teyateyaneng based musician Ts’epo Ts’ola (The village Pope). He joined the crew as a pianist and later became a saxophonist, he toured lot of countries with the group among them; South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia.
Looking to grow his skills and expand his experience, he left the Village Pope to join Lucky Dube and toured Namibia, South Africa, Comoros Islands, Uganda and France. After six months with the reggae star, Bhudaza returned home to form a band called Corner Stone Jazz which became a resident band at Lesotho Sun Hotel in 1995 and 1996.
The love and experience of music ignited the spark in him to further the knowledge of music academically, so he enrolled at the University of Cape Town (UCT) where he graduated with a Diploma in Jazz Studies from 1997 to 2000.
In the first semester of his UCT studies he was called to join Shine, a music group which toured United Arab Emirates where they were a resident band at Arif Castle Hotel for four months. While in the United Arab Emirates the band also performed at the Heineken Jazz Festival. During his final year at UCT, Bhudaza was called in to join Talima Jazz Band which formed part of His Majesty King Letsie III’s entourage to the Hannover Expo.
Returning with not only academic muscle but exposure, he formed a jazz band, Bhudaza and Friends, which mostly performed in Lesotho and Free State. In 2003 he recorded his debut album Bo-Mapefane which received Multi-Platinum award by Universal Music for selling over 400 000 copies.
In 2005 he was booked alongside Hugh Masekela, Yellow Jackets, Joe Zawinal, Mariam Makeba and John Schofield at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.
In 2006 he recorded his second album Mohokare which received double gold award from Universal Music for selling over 80000 copies.
In 2009 he recorded his third album Likhomo which won the best adult contemporary album (African) in 2010.
Despite having three albums under his belt, he still features some of the artist in singles. Among them Features Bonolo and Ts’epo Ts’ola in Thaba li Nchebile and Moses Khumalo in Ibuyile. He does that to uplift the spirit of Afro jazz to those who fell inlove with the jazz melodies.
Mapefane is one of few Lesotho artistes to grow their music beyond the borders of Lesotho and had the honour of working with Prince Kupi, Lucas Senyatso and Sello Montwedi on all his albums. In 2010 Bhudaza celebrated his South Africa Music Award in his birth soil breaking the norm of ‘prophets are not adored in their home’; a move that led him to being the most booked and respected jazz mogul.
Giving back to the music community in Lesotho, Bhudaza was named the Vodacom Superstar Music and Dance competition for 2012 Icon where he coached and trained aspiring musicians in the Mountain Kingdom.
He was awarded an honorary award by the Ultimate Radio Music Awards for flying Lesotho’s flag high in the music Industry around the world.
Listening to different type of music classified as ‘good’, he maintained jazz still tops the rank.
He hosts a jazz radio program every Sunday from 12-3pm at the Ultimate Radio.