King Kong in London: the late 1950s and early 1960s

Thunder in their Hearts - South African Jazz in Britain - Francis Gooding

Francis Gooding [+-]
Francis Gooding is a writer and researcher who has published widely on art, music and film. He worked as author and researcher on the Colonial Film: Images of the British Empire project (, and is a member of the British Empire at War Research Group. He is a contributing editor to Critical Quarterly magazine, and is the author of Black Light: Myth and Meaning in Modern Painting (Blackwells, 2009).


This chapter looks at London in the 1950s: jazz, immigration from the crumbling Empire, and the London scene. The King Kong musical come to London, and brings with it the first significant wave of passing and permanent jazz exiles, with members of the Manhattan Bros, Gwigwi Mrebi, Gwangwa & Masekela, Peggy Phango, Kippie M, Todd Matshikiza, and others all in London for the show. The period marks the beginning of the Anti-Apartheid Movement in the UK (the ‘Boycott Movement’, from 1959). Iconic events such as the ‘wind of Change’, Sharpville, Umkhonto, and the expulsion of South Africa from the Commonwealth. Sanctions, and Resolution 1761. (Arrival of Abdullah Ibrahim and Sathima in Europe with M Nshoko and Johnny Gertze.) are all surveyed alongside a focus on the Manhattan Brothers.

Notify A Colleague


Gooding, Francis . King Kong in London: the late 1950s and early 1960s. Thunder in their Hearts - South African Jazz in Britain. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Jul 2023. ISBN 9781781790830. Date accessed: 28 Feb 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.24993. Jul 2023

Dublin Core Metadata