By Tumiso Setladi
Mandla Colin Nhlapo (39), is a musician, music teacher and a director at the Free Jazz Music Academy. He was born in Mamelodi but raised in Soshanguve, Pretoria. He was raised in a family of six, which consisted of both his parents and 3 brothers. He grew up in a Christian family which he says had a huge impact in his musical career.
Mandla alongside Mrs K.S Nhlapo run a music school – Free Jazz Music Academy and Projects C.C. The academy is in 146 Minaar Street, Pretoria and was established in 2009 but started operating in 2010.
He decided to go in this line of business because he is musician, who studies music, “It was not a decision, it is a calling. I have tried to do other things but have always found myself back in music and only then would I feel content. It is what I was born to do,” Mandla said.
The academy targets individuals, music groups, schools, churches and music studios. Colin, Mrs K.S Nhlapo and 5 other freelance teachers aim to instil some of their knowledge and skills in music to the younger generation of musicians. They target people from Gauteng and Mpumalanga but there are also national services found online.
The Academy prides itself in the kind of students it has produced and the projects they have done and currently involved in. The following projects and students stand out as the cream of the pie – their students played in ‘Feast of the Clown Concert’ in 2014 and have done other smaller concert in Pretoria.
Thokozani Nkosi, a bassist and guitarist plays for various well known artists and is now working with Linda Kekana. Prosper Mokono is going to be releasing his Gospel album in August and Bertrum is producing music for various artists in South Africa. These guys and others are products of the FJM Academy.
“I would like to see the academy reach more students in other provinces and to have enough instruments and good quality sound system,” Mandla said.
He is inspired by individuals who do their best and work diligently to fulfill their dreams. He is currently recording a gospel single and working on exposing his students to a lot of recording sessions and gigs.
His long term goal is to have his own building that will have at least 10 spacious rooms for lessons, a concert hall, and residences. He also plans on extending the academy to other provinces in South Africa.
Their website is www.fjmacademy.co,za and their @fjmacademy on Facebook.