By: Vuyolwethu Dubese

After attending the multitude of skills and development training programmes, a public debate, jazz and photography workshops, 19h30 saw me standing in front of the Basil ‘Manenberg’ Coetzee stage awaiting The Soil to make their debut at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.

Opening their 1 hour and 15 minutes show with Asante Sana, the trio performed crowd favourites like “Sunday”,” Inkomo” with “Sedilaka” and “Impossible” accompanied by a classical band. However, it was “Mkhuluwato” which Buhle did umxhentsoto (tranditionalxhosa dancing) where percussionist GonsteMakhene won the crowd’s favour until the group saluted the fans which “Inkomo”.

One of the highlights of the festival was a sensual, intimate session with American classical jazz legend, Carmen Lundy which was hosted by ShadoTwala and attended by non-other than Deputy President, KgalemaMotlanthe who was hypnotised by the  wondrous performance of Blue Song and My Favourite Things. The Rosies stage also hosted, for the seasoned jazz lovers to the dubbed “ancestral jazz-rock god” Dr Phillip Tabane and Malombo who whistled the dusty streets of townships in his guitar and unique voice.

Jimmy Nevis Mi Casa, AKA and Da Les Black Coffee and Friends were some local acts that the youth were only too happy to TURN UP to. It was not only Black Coffee who had his friends on stage, but Reason brought the Bassline (stage) house down when he brought Cape Town’s favourites Ill Skillz to do “Lendlela” with him. Also making his debut at the festival, Youngsta feat DNA were crowd favourites, performing with only a few people at the beginning of his set, but by the end, both young and old had filled up the Bassline, hosted by DjLoyd.

And then it happened. At exactly 23h45, a darkened Kippies stage was deafened by silence, the kind of sacred, life threatening silence that would kill if one would utter a sound before this moment. A moment that devoted neo-soul listeners would define as a life-changing once in a lifetime moment. The dormant silence that had been bottling the exhilaration of the tens of thousands of fans had finally exploded at the sight of the Queen of Neo Soul, Erykah Badu, as she walked on stage dressed in black tracksuit pants, a leather jacket with blue feathers sticking out and a black hat resembling that of the famous Vivienne Westwood.  With no excessive make-up or outfit changes, Badu sang greats from all of her five albums including “The Healer/Hip Hop”, “Danger” and “Honey”, all to the crowd’s delight. While singing “Please do not cry” in the final part of “Next Lifetime”, the songstress introduced her sister (also her back up singer), Nayrok and declared her undying love for her in a sea of teary fans. The foreseeable came, and she waved goodbye to the crowd, hopeful that she’d perform one last song.

This is testimony to how much the festival is more than just music, it’s an experience which for some is life-changing and for others, an opportunity to see their idols and make memories. Until next year Cape Town, thank you for the being great hosts to the world.

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