Monthly Archives: March 2015

Voices of Soweto

The world renowned Soweto Choir was formed by two choir directors, David Mulovhedzi and Beverly Bryer in 2002. Over the past 13 years, the choir has grown in size as well as in popularity. There are now over 40 voices performing in the choir! The Soweto Choir specializes in African Gospel, Negro Spirituals, Reggae and to most people’s surprise; American Top Charts.

The Soweto Choir won their first award in 2003 for “Best Contemporary Concert”. And they didn’t stop there, as they went on to winning numerous awards over the past 13 years. They were even awarded two Grammy Awards for “Best Traditional World Music” in 2007 and 2008.

I would highly recommend catching one of their performances live, as it is, in my opinion, a bucket-list experience. I will never forget the first time I watched them perform live; I had goosebumps from head to toe, and from beginning to end!

Soweto Gospel Choir

Soweto Choir

The Soweto Gospel Choir album, ‘African Spirit’, produced by Robin Hogarth, won ‘Best Traditional World Music Album’, at the 50th Grammy awards held in Los Angeles – 2008

Soweto Choir

The Soweto Choir’s with Nelson Mandela, London – 2008


By Laura Perchoc

Meet Hilton Schilder, Musician and “Jazz Safari Guide”

Who never hummed « Asimbonanga » or « Pata Pata »? These hits put famous south-africans great singers like Johnny Clegg or Miriam Makeba on the world stage. Other artists, maybe less known from the general public, are also international stars, in particular on the jazz scene, like Abdullah Ibrahim or Hugh Masekela. But South Africa is full of talented musicians who are worth highlighting. I had the pleasure interviewing one of them: Hilton Schilder.

Hilton Schilder - No turning back

What type of Music / Genre do you play?

To put it into 1 box, I “ Play World Music” a mixture of Jazz, Classical, Folk music from a South Africa, Carnival Music, Indigenous music which includes Africa and Cultures from the rest of the World

Where do you live?

I live in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town. I was born in Wynberg and then moved to Lotus River where I grew up from the age of 3 years old. I am now living with my family in Grassy Park

For how long have you been playing music?

I have been playing from the age of 3 years old. I started playing “drums and piano”. From a young age I was very passionate about music and art. My Dad was a Musician and my Mom an Artist. I have been in the music industry for 34 years now

What Instruments do you play and why did you choose it?

I play the Keyboard, Piano, Electric Piano, Guitar (with which I share a special relationship), Percussion and Drums to name just a few. My favourite instrument is the “Mouth-Bow “


What made you go into the music industry?

It really started in Matric, when I wanted to start earning money. I joined a band “The Four Sounds” then moved on to the band “Big Daddy”, also played with the band “Soft Landing” where I played some of my own music, then I met up with Mac McKenzie and joined the band “The Genuines”. I wanted to play music. Through music and art, you can express what has happened in the past and in the present and also the future.

Tell us what your greatest memory as a musician?

Waking up in hospital and then picturing a piano in a shadow and writing my best single/song “Rebirth”

What is your favourite place/city in SA OR Southern Africa?

I love the Garden Route, Knysna, George right up to Durban. I love mountain hiking, staying on the mountain overnight and returning the next day is fond memories of when I was younger.
I love the island Zanzibar, all other island I love as well, I just love the serenity that the island offer.
Coffee Bay along the Eastern Cape is also another favourite.
Closer to home would be Tokai Forest, Silvermines, taking a train to these locations made it a day outing of note, I often took my girlfriend, which is now my wife on these train journeys in Cape Town.

How do you see music and tourism inter-linked and what more can be done to link the two?

I am involved with Jazz Safari Tours, I have been doing this for 11 years. We invite guests to our house and serve them a lovely dinner that my wife (Tesna Schilder) prepares. I then have a small concert for the guests at my home, I can take from 2-20 pax at a time and the experience is from 19h30-21h00, this can be booked with a local operator Coffee Beans. After my experience the guest move on around the mother city and beyond to more jazz venues to enjoy.

By Bronwyn Mentor

South African Unity Chants

You certainly remember this chant sung by the Bafana Bafana’s fans during the Football World Cup en 2010 : Shosholoza. This song, which became popular a few years earlier during the 1995 Rugby World Cup and is classed by some South Africans as the second national anthem, has the power to be moving, while giving a feeling of strength when sung by many voices, and so much more when sung by an entire stadium !

Shosholoza by the University of Cape Town Choir (2014)

Shosholoza’, which means ‘go forward’ in the Ndebele1 language, evokes the courage. Zimbabwean migrants sang it in the steam train that brought them to work in the South African gold and diamond mines in the late 19th century. Later, Zulu workers took up the song to generate rhythm and give themselves courage. Nelson Mandela told that he sang it while he was working as a prisoner on Robben Island. Nowadays, Shosholoza has become a hymn sung in many sporting events, resonating as a chant of encouragement, motivation and, of course, union.

Other songs, which are less known to the world but are part of South African history and culture, have a more political origin. During the dark years of apartheid Hendrik Verwoerd, Prime Minister, recognized as ‘The Architect of Apartheid’, was the subject of a protest song composed by Vuyisile Mini2, Ndodemnyama we Werwoerd (Be aware, Werwoerd), which became one of the most popular songs in the country and was sung, among others, by Miriam Makeba, international voice of the anti-apartheid struggle. Lyrics are tougher than the melody lets it sound. They ring out like a warning: ‘Watch out, Verwoerd, here comes the black man, your days are over’.

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Listen to “Ndodemnyama we Verwoerd by Myriam Makeba”

Miriam Makeba

Miriam Makeba sang “Ndodemnyama, we Verwoerd” in the 60’s

In 1955, while South Africa was being divided into racial zones, Africans were chased out of Sophiatown, one of the oldest hubs of Johannesburg, so a white suburb could be built in its place. This destruction is the origin of the song ‘Meadowlands’, in reference to the name of the township where the evictees were relocated. Through the vehicle of a lively tune and its ambiguous lyrics, Meadowlands might look like a cheerful song. Actually, it expresses the distress felt by Sophiatown inhabitants facing the evacuation and the destruction of their houses.

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Listen to “Meadowlands” by African Jazz Pioneers with Dolly Rathebe”

Pictures from movie

Pictures from movie “Come Back Africa” (Lionel Rogosin – 1959), a portrait of Johannesburg during apartheid

Finally, if we had to choose a chant that symbolises the best unity, the South African anthem is certainly the strongest representation. Since 1997, the national hymn combines ‘Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika’ (God Bless Africa), and ‘Die Stem van Suid-Afrika’ (The Voice of South Africa).
‘Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika’ is a religious song created in the late 19th century and chosen afterwards by ANC as its official anthem, whereas ‘Die Stem van Suid-Afrika’ is the South African former anthem, particularly during Apartheid. We can’t find a more beautiful union and forgiveness symbol than the fusion of the two chants which were, during the Apartheid years, the hymns of two opposite movements.
The fact that South Africans took up lyrics of a chant which was once their enemies’ one, is not only beautiful and brave, but it is a founding act of the post-apartheid South Africa.

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Listen to The South African Anthem

Nelson Mandela

1) Ndebele : South african and zimbabwean ethnic group
2) Vuyisile Mini was a composer, singer and an ANC’s activist, executed in 1964 by apartheid power.

Source : Michela E. Vershbow ‘s article : « The Sounds of Resistance: The Role of Music in South Africa’s Anti-Apartheid Movement »

Read and see more:
« Amandla! A Revolution in Four Part Harmony » – A documentary by Lee Hirsch (2002)

By Muriel Romero

Swaziland: A Dancing Country

Do you want to be immersed in African culture beauties?
Landlocked by South Africa and bordered by Mozambique, the Kingdom of Swaziland is the perfect place for a unique cultural experience, with flowing dances and songs.
In this little country, with its beautiful landscapes, you will attend the colourful ceremonies which take place regularly to mark special occasions such as weddings, royal rituals or national festivals. These ceremonies are part of Swazi traditions that have endured for generations and give the nation a feeling of union, featuring a marvellous amalgam of punctuated choreography by ancestral songs.


No doubt, the discovery of music and Swazi traditional songs that accompany many dances, such as the Sibhaca dance, will be one of your most intense holiday memories. This energetic dance is marked by a striking harmony feet, accompanied by the sound of big drums and beats blocks of wood and songs.
This show featuring songs of various styles can last up to two or three hours: two or three hours of wonderment!

Swaziland dance

If you want to live an impressive Swazi cultural experience, Mantenga Cultural Village is the best place to discover its musical richness. This village has a group of internationally renowned dancers, alternating performances around the world.

If you want to experience a musical immersion, you have to attend one of the major festivals and ceremonies of Swaziland, like Incwala ceremony, which is one of the most sacred of the kingdom. It takes several days and consists of many rituals, during which the king plays an important role.

MTN Bushfire

Also, fellow travellers, don’t miss the MTN Bushfire from 29 to 31 May! This international renowned festival celebrates the creative expression and promotes social responsibility donating all of its profits to local charities.
On the program: 3 days of local and international live music, theatre, poetry, circus, dance and visual arts.
The MTN Bushfire is located in the Ezulwini Valley in the heart of Swaziland, and annually hosts more than 20,000 festival-goers from around the world.

Visit the MTN Bushfire website


By Candice Chapel

Cape Town International Jazz Festival

Music lovers, listen up! It is happening this month in Cape Town: the must-visit Cape Town International Jazz festival. For 16 years, every last week of March, the Mother City has been welcoming locals and international Jazz artists in a groovy spirit for an exceptional musical week.

Cape Town International Jazz Festival
Taking place in the Cape Town Convention Centre during the last weekend of March, ‘’Africa’s grandest gathering’’ was made to feature Jazz music. It has now become a great event of sharing, with a unique and entertaining show. The week of the festival is the opportunity for the city to enhance Jazz and music knowledge through different workshops and free concerts downtown.

Cape Town International Jazz Festival

Artists, which are fifty-fifty locals and internationals, share their passion for music on five different stages with a public that has doubled since the first CTIJF. Being one of the top Jazz festivals in the world, the event welcomes the most renowned artists such as Grammy nominated singer and songwriter Amel Larrieux.
Not necessarily into Jazz music? More of a trance, rock, or electronic music fan? No worries, Southern Africa has it covered for you. Inspirational and creative, the region welcomes a great number of festivals, featuring not only music but also entertaining shows, in splendid landscapes. The real treasures of African festivals remain in a few simple things: exceptional and natural venues, great performances, and chilled vibes. Have a look at our events calendar to decide when you will be coming!

2015 Festivals Agenda

This year, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival will take place from Friday 27th of March to Sunday 29th.

Cape Town International Jazz Festival

By Orianne Gambino

One of us: Jameela Wagener, Leisure Travel Consultant


1- How and Why did you arrive in Cape Town?

I arrived in Cape Town in June 2008. Even though my mother is South African and my father German my siblings and I all grew up in Germany. We lived all our life in Germany till nearly 7 years ago. Cape Town has always felt like home to me that is why I decided to move here.

2 – Could you describe your job and what do you like the most about it?

Every day is different! Helping clients, especially the direct ones, plan their holiday is almost like going on holiday with them. You discover new places every day and get to experience everything first hand, from planning to travelling and arriving back home. You are at their side every step of the way

3- What is your job philosophy?

Breath… and take one day at the time

4- Describe XO Africa in 3 words

Multi cultural, Interesting and very different

5- What is your best spot among our destination? Why?

That would definitely be Cape Town. You have everything you can think of in one city, mountains, beaches, beautiful sceneries, cultural places and much more. Plus everything is conveniently close together

6-What are your secret addresses (restaurant, sunset, club…) in Cape Town?

Grand Café & Beach is one of them. One has the most amazing views of the sunset while enjoying delicious food.

7- Tell us one anecdote or memory you had in your life in south Africa

Having met my husband here and calling Cape Town “home” now is probably the best memory to have.

2015 Festivals Agenda





Jazz on the Rocks From 26 February to 1 March 2015 Cape Columbine Nature Reserve’s Tietiesbaai beach, just outside Paternoster
Oude Libertas Summer Season Festival Various concert Stellenbosch
Robertson Hands-on Harvest Festival  From 7 February to 29 March 2015 Robertson
Cape Town International Jazz Festival From 27 to 28 march 2015 Cape Town
Scifest Africa  From 18 to 24 March 2015 in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape
AfrikaBurn From 27 April to 3 May 2015 The Karoo
Splashy Fen From 2 to 6 April 2015 Underberg, KwaZulu-Natal
Dullstroom Winter Festival From 4 to 6 July 2015 Dullstroom
Boertjie Kontreifees From 3 to 5 September 2015 Bultfontein, Free State
Hermanus Whale Festival From 2 to 4 October 2015 Hermanus, Western Cape
Macufe From 3 to 12 October 2015 Bloemfontein





 MTN Bushfire  From 29 to 31 May 2015  Ezulwini Valley
 Marula festival  The 21st February 2015  Ebuhleni





 Maitisong Festival From 22 to 26 April 2015  Gaborone





 HIFA  From 28 April to 3 May 2015  Harare





 STRAB Festival  From 7 to 31 May 2015  Ponta Malongane