The smiling face of Mo-T, aka Moshe Kgasoane, is known to most South Africans as the energetic and charismatic horn blower of top house band, Mi Casa.
Being one third of one of the country’s most dynamic, award-winning musical acts has been instrumental in Mo being able to take positive messages around the globe with music, but also meet and perform alongside some of South Africa’s most influential artists.
But it was through the loss of so many of his personal heroes to the dread disease Cancer, including his own beloved father, that inspired Mo to launch the cancer awareness initiative, The Diphala Foundation.
With South African males being more historically more reserved about their personal health issues, male-based cancers have been aggressively affecting some of our most important musical icons over the years. Hugh Masekela and Johnny Clegg were two legends whose passing deeply affected Mo and, with the Diphala Foundation, he aims to bring awareness to previously undisclosed cancer-related issues in the male community. This initiative is being supported through a series of ‘Blow Cancer Away’ black-tie music events, men’s health clinic affiliations and transparent fund-raising initiatives to kickstart 2021 into a positive gear.
Many South Africans are not aware of the profound musical heritage flowing through Mo-T’s bloodline. Having been born as a third generation horn player in a family of musicians from Alexandra Township, Mo was influenced by the rich tradition of brass musicians that came before him in his lineage.
His grandfather, Henry Kgasoane, was the legendary lead saxophonist and founder of the multi-platinum selling Alexandra Brass Band, who were one of the most instrumental bands on the jazz scene of the 50’s. He passed the knowledge on to his own son, Lehlara Banza Samson Kgasoane, affectionately known as Banza, who would go on to become one of the most important icons of the 80’s and 90’s musical era as lead trumpeter for the legendary band Mango Groove.
As his personal mentor and best friend, the paternal influence in Mo-T runs deep, and for this reason, the Diphala Foundation and cancer awareness in general holds a special place in his heart.
It was at his grandfathers funeral at the age of 2 that Mo first picked up a coronet and decided to follow in the Kgasoane legacy. By ten years old he was well on his way to being a proficient player, despite much of his success coming from self-taught means. As Mo grew up he found himself introduced to two other musicians, namely Dr Duda and J’something, who would ultimately go on to shape his life and help him become the star he was born to be as the distinct brass section of Mi Casa.
Always grinning from ear to ear and basking in every moment on stage, Mo-T truly believes he is living his dream every day. As a loving husband and a doting father to three beautiful children, he spends his leisure time actively ensuring his health is with him for the long haul, with a relentless training regime that keeps him fit and active.
Not afraid to admit that he worries about cancer himself, he believes that being active and healthy can reduce ones chances of falling sick, as well as being humble, positive and making the best of each day. Above all else Mo believes that music is a great healer and putting a smile of peoples faces through song is what gets him up every day.
With his mentorship for younger brass musicians, his Brass Lounge live event that regularly brings young horn players together for showcasing, and of course his hugely influential role in Mi Casa, Mo-T is a new-school musician with a timeless heart. Born and bred to carry a jazz torch into modern sonic developments, and spread love where he can, Mo is making sure his legacy is something his family, past and present, would be proud of.