The beautiful valley is full of orchards that stretch to the horizon and a Swati radio programme blares from a speaker next to one of the farm buildings.
This is Mayfern, near Nelspruit in Mpumalanga, and it’s where Ray Phiri’s interest in music started.
It’s also where he intends to indulge his other big love – helping others to achieve their dreams these days the prolific 65-year-old musician, band leader and one-time collaborator with American folk legend Paul Simon spends a lot of time driving between his Sonheuwel home in the heart of Nelspruit and Mayfern – because that’s where he plans to launch his arts academy.
“The Ray Phiri Arts Institute will give kids an opportunity to learn about the arts and the importance of culture,” the man known locally as Chikapa says.
“I had to bring you here,” the frontman for the hugely popular group Stimela says as we walk around the historic farm a few kilometres outside the city centre.
“As much as people are curious about my music, it’s important for them to know about my roots too.
READ MORE IN DRUM MAGAZINE 3 MAY 2012