Caiphus Semenya

Solo Musician - Johannesburg
Caiphus Semenya


Most notable have been Semenya’s regular collaborations with Quincy Jones. The association has seen Semenya composing all the African music for Alex Hayley’s Roots Pt 1 and Pt 2, and also the African music for the Steven Spielberg-directed Colour Purple. Semenya’s work for Colour Purple earned him an Oscar Nomination.

Caiphus Semenya is one of South Africa’s foremost musical directors and composers, with recent credits including the music scores for the SABC series Molo Fish, Vicious Circle, and Gaba Mootho, as well as a lifetime of work as a performer and arranger of African music.

Caiphus Semenya


Semenya left South Africa in the 1960's, together with his wife, singer Letta Mbulu. Whilst in exile, he worked with compatriots Hugh Masekela, Jonas Gwangwa, Hotep Galeta, and Miriam Makeba amongst many others.

The 1990's saw Semenya working both sides of the Atlantic, whilst he and his family relocated to Johannesburg. Celebrated performances included the Africa Night at Montreux Jazz Festival, a sold out series at Sun City, and numerous open air concerts - often together with his wife Letta Mbulu.

In April 2004, together with Hugh Masekela, Jonas Gwangwa, Letta Mbulu and Sibongile Khumalo, he formed the Creative Collective, which co-ordinated the musical and artistic programme for South Africa's "Ten Years of Freedom" celebrations.


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