Respect goes a long way — back


Respect, one of Cape Town’s top groups of the late Sixties and a trendsetter with the new sounds of the times. From left, Issy Mohammed (rhythm guitar and vocals), Melly da Silva (bass), Noel Kistima (drums) and Issy Ariefdien). And just so he gets all the “respect” he deserves, the drum design was painted by their muliti-talented manager, Charles Dette. Does anyone know what happened to Issy Mohammed?

Recognise the guys in this photo?  It was taken early in ’68 (if memory serves me well) in Jay Jay’s Athlone club, the Soul Workshop . Here’s a tip.  They commanded a lot of respect those days.

In fact, they were called Respect and they were at the forefront of the music revolution in Cape Town around that time.

The soul sound was the hottest thing going in the mid-Sixties. But, come ’67-’68 artists like Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker, Jeff Beck, and groups like Blood Sweat and Tears, Led Zeppelin, Cream,  Spooky Tooth ruled the roost with the “psychedelic” and “underground” sound which morphed into today’s jazz-fusion.

Respect introduced their music to their legion of fans.

And the musos in that photo? Well, that’s Noel Kistima on drums, with Issy Mohammed on the left, Melly Da Silva peering out behind him, and Issy Ariefdien.

The reason I’m on about Respect in this post is because a week or so ago two of them – Melly and Noel – caught up in Canberra, Australia, for a bit of reminiscing.

Melly was the group’s bassist, Issy Mohammed did vocals and rhythm guitar and of course Issy Ariefdien was on lead guitar. [Later they were to add organist Ivor Wagner, saxopnist Basil Coetzee, and another vocalist, the unforgettable Tyrone Macranus.]

The “remember this” and “remember that” phrases flowed liberally and brought forth endless mirth and great satisfaction. But the one thing that bothered both – and it was a question neither could answer – was, “whatever happened to Issy Mohammed?”.

Once the group went its separate ways in 1970, Issy Mohammed disappeared off the music scene completely. Never seen or heard of again.

Calls were put in to Cape Town to Issy Ariefdien and to the group’s one-time manager, Charles Dette. They too could shed no light on what happened to Issy. They promised to look into it but neither was too optimistic.

And there you have it. The whole purpose of this posting . . . does anyone know what happened to Issy Mohammed.

And no, it’s not a precursor to a reunion thing. Just a couple of old musos wondering out aloud.

Let’s see if anyone out there knows the whereabouts of the much-talked about Issy Mohammed. Look forward to hearing from you.

Founder members of Respect,Melly da Silva and Noel Kistima . . . reminiscing about the good old days.

Founder members of Respect, Melly da Silva and Noel Kistima . . . reminiscing about the good old days.


Charles Dette, Respect’s manager and artist in his own right. He painted, in psychedelic style, the iconic bass drum and the wall of the Zoom Room in Elsies River where the group often played.

This material is copyrighted. Prior approval has to be obtained before any reproduction.



  1. Where was the Zoom Room? I remember going to the Aquarius every week in 1970-71, after they had reformed with Bernie Lawrence on bass, and Issy Mohamed doing all the vocals.


    1. Henri, The Zoom was in Elsies River, diagonally opposite from Aquarius in an upstairs joint. It was called the Grove O’ Shades originally.


      1. Yes, Michael Smith and Bryan “Chopper” Fysh were the resident band there – the Shades.
        I was in the Aquarius every Saturday night to dance to Respect and Triangles (RJ Smith on drums) music


    1. Glad you liked it. Psychedelic … it’s all in your mind you know. Just like colour is a pigment of your imagination!!!!


  2. Yes i recognise the Soul Workshop in Athlone. Both Noel & Melly looks well seasoned !! I cannot remember Issy Mohammed ???? Will make some equiries also ask Issy A>>>> Rashid


    1. You can blame Warren for us being well seasoned. As you know he is a bad influence. Look what he did to you. How are you mate?


  3. Getting the original RESPECT together, if even only for one gig, would be the GREATEST reunion ever. I really wish that would happen. Keep up the good work Warren.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s