By Nomali Cele
Tim Modise grew up in Garankua in the 1960s and ‘70s. He attended Fort Hare University and later moved to Johannesburg’s Hillbrow neighbourhood. In 2001, he suddenly became a single parent when his wife died in a car crash.
Recently, he shared with John Perlman how that childhood was shaped by music. He also shared the book and food that has impacted his formative experiences.
“I wasn’t that naughty,” Modise told Perlman. The broadcast legend says he was not a sporty person either in childhood, but he was social and reasonably good at school.
It wasn’t until Modise was in his early teens that the politics of the country made any kind of impression on him. In the year preceding the Soweto Uprisings of 1976, Modise witnessed the first instance of people rising up against power.
His selection of Save The Children by Marvin Gaye alluded to the kind of music that shaped his life. Tim Modise named The O’Jays, Hugh Masekela, Harre, Sipho Hotstix Mabuse, Diana Ross and Motown, Abulah Ibrahim. His father’s musical influence is seen in his love of Aretha Franklin.
For his book, Tim Modise selected a title that was given to him by the late Ray Phiri, a good friend of his. At that time Modise still lived in Hillbrow. The title, “Beyond the Chains of Illusion: My Encounter with Marx and Freud” by Erich Fromm is at the top of his list.
“This book taught me a lot of things about how a human being is made up,” he told Perlman.
Growing up, according to Modise, food was generally fuel. Except for Sundays when the lunch was at its best; of all meals in the week, Sunday’s lunch was a treat. His dish of choice is dumpling and lamb with some morogo on the side.
Listen to the full conversation with Tim Modise below or listen to the full Today With John Perlman podcast now