Imbokodo Jazz Festival celebrates South African Women

Imbokodo Jazz Festival celebrates South African Women - 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 reviews

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Young musicians at the Imbokodo Jazz Festival on 12 August at the Durban Port Authority's N-Shed, are set to ensure that there are items which will appeal to younger audience members, in addition to the award-winning line-up. Such is the selection of jazz talent that it will cater to both jazz purists and those who enjoy contemporary jazz. The event is being hosted by the iTheku Regional Jazz Association (iTReJA) which is an affiliate of the South African Jazz Appreciators Association (SAJAA) - the originator of the concept of a jazz festival dedicated to South African women

“We want to see Jazz going Places” – Mncedi Zulu, Chairman South African Jazz Appreciators Association (SAJAA)

As I have often stated, music possesses the innate properties which will heal our nation – this is a platform which unites young and old, black or white, pink or purple ie the essence of our rainbow nation. This notion is echoed by the South African Jazz Appreciation Association (SAJAA)  - a national body which has affiliations with 8 of our 9 provinces in South Africa.

The Imbokodo Jazz Festival is SAJAA’s brainchild (an Association which was launched at the Ohlanga Institute (KZN) in 2013 with the vision of developing and growing Jazz appreciation throughout South Africa). Last year (2016) saw the inaugural Festival with a female component of 33% ; this year participation has increased to 80% … and the vision is that by 2019, the Festival will be totally run by women from production to PR to performers.

It was quite amusing to attend the launch of this year’s Imbokodo and to be facing a panel of men. “Why only males at the table?” Mncedi Zulu – SAJAA Chairman rhetorically stated. “Although there are many women jazz musicians, the inaugural committee only had one woman member – this is a situation which has to be remedied… and this particular event (Imbokodo) has to be totally run and performed by women – 100%!”

And, if you think that isn’t a big enough challenge, SAJAA would like to host the International Jazz Day celebration in South Africa as well as see the establishment of a 24/7 Jazz Radio Station. [Keep an eye out for – we stream music 24/7 are looking at introducing a Jazz hour on the  online platform on a Tuesday evening – who knows where we will go from there].

Mncedi continued: “Security during the event is paramount – the safety of our daughters is paramount! We don’t want any negative vibes from the attendees – I wish we didn’t have to worry about that!”

Originally the idea was to rotate the hosting of Imbokodo in various provinces, but for the moment this has been placed on hold so that then festival and its following can be build up. “We all collect Jazz CDs and attend events, not only to speak as one voice but start developing Jazz tourism as a destination,” stated ‘Stix’ Didimba at the launch. “Women are the pillars of our nation and they should redefine jazz (previously perceived as a male-dominated field especially with respect to musical instruments and behand the scenes production).

“Imbokodo will not see us put aside our CD sessions, but rather fit them in-between the various performances, so that there will be a ‘free flow’ of music all the time.”

The main message to come across, however, is that Imbokodo will cater for all forms of jazz to appeal to everyone – it’s not to be perceived as a concert for the ‘older’ and to this end a selection of young up-and-coming artistes have been chosen to perform.


  • Lindiwe Maxolo – the winner of the 2002 Old Mutual Jazz Encounters Afro Vocal category, is a powerful vocalist who has performed in India, Portugal , Greece and New Orleans to much acclaim;
  • Durban-born jazz singer, Spha Mdlalose who has performed alongside Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Micasa, Sibongile Khumalo and Oliver Mthukudzi to name but some, will also be gracing the Imbokodo stage. (While working on her debut solo album, Spha appeared in the second season of the TV series ‘The Voice’)
  • Xolisa Dlamini, who not only won the Radio Metro Song competition (together with her co-composer) in 1997, but represented South Africa in Norway the following year, is perhaps one of South Africa’s most soulful singers. Her accolades are numerous and in 2014 she performed in Scotland at the Commonwealth Games as well as former President Thabo Mbeki’s inaugural ceremony.;
  • Composer-arranger, bassist/ vocalist, arts researcher, jazz lecturer and director/performer – Chantal Willie-Petersen has been involved in numerous award-winning projects. One of her collaborations was with the Feya Faku Quintet… so there will be great expectations as Feya Faku is yet another to appear in the stunning line-up.

For more information please keep an eye on GoingPlacesSA as we interview as many of the performers as possible.


Food and refreshments will be on sale but only on a cash basis – there will be no credit card facilities available at the venue!

VENUE: N-SHED, the cruise terminal facility in the Port of Durban, QUAYSIDE ROAD, PORT ENTRANCE 3

  • Directions: Turn left off Margaret Mncadi Avenue (formerly Victoria Embankment) GPS Co-ordiNATES: Lattitude 29.870289; Longitude: 31.033448
  • COST: R300pp
  • TIME: 1pm - 1am


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