The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport Expresses Condolences on the Passing of Duke Ngcukana
A son to the grandfather of jazz in Cape Town, Christopher "Columbus" Ngcukana and the eldest to the Ngcukana brothers including the late Ezra Ngcukana, a trumpeter and a mathematician, Duke Ngcukana was born in Langa township in 1947.
His music education started at the tender age of six in the Salvation Army brass band. In the 70s and beyond, he plied his craft with bands like the Pacific Express, the Soul Jazzmen, Abdullah Ibrahim, Cliffy Moses, Basil Moses and many more, where he played both the trumpet and the flugelhorn. His love for academia saw him pursue studies in science and education at the University of Fort Hare. He subsequently juggled being a mathematics teacher and a prolific musician. During this time he also founded the Langa Adult Choir and he was the choir director and composer. Duke Ngcukana unfortunately passed away on Saturday, 18 April 2011, after a long battle with tuberculosis at the Claremont Clinic.
As a Western Cape Jazz legend, his name was among those that were nominated to be honoured as living jazz legends through the Jazz Legends Mural at Artscape. His passing away is a devastating loss and shock to the entire province and South Africa.