Shisa Phata Phata

Its about time there was some practical, hands-on music around here, and to this end I’ve transcribed|arranged|made-up the short and sweet solo section from Spoke’s Mashiyane’s song called ‘Shisa Phata Phata’ (composed by a ‘R. Msomi’).

Phata Phata was a popular dance “down Jo’burg way” (or sometimes “down Gauteng way“) as Miriam Makeba reminds us in her famous song Pata Pata. Shisa (does anyone know what ‘Shisa’ means?) Phata Phata is a different tune to Miriam & Spokes Phata Phata (which can be found on the rather good Miram Makeba – Her Essential Recordings: The Empress of African Song album), but I strongly suspect that Miriam is singing in the original recording (New Sound GB.2975).

Shisa Phata Phata solo, played by Spokes.


  1. “Shisa” is a Zulu stem meaning “hot” and is also a “Hlonipha” ( Zulu term of respect) for the sun.
    (taken from the website of a guest farm in Tulbach Western Cape of the same name)

    Glad to find other people with a love of this music.

    Stumbled across a recent CD by Positively Test Card: ‘Kwela’ is definately woth a listen if you can get a copy. Google them on the net and their website gives a very good history and analysis of the style. From what I can gather they are all (white ) Brits but their music is absolutely true to the sprit… Wonderfully joyous!!

  2. Kwela shoud be be given more exposure in modern South Africa, rather than confined to special inetrest groups. It is virgin music of our african soil to be enduref or posterity.

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