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Monday, June 9, 2014


(Vusi Mahlasela)

Action in Autism in partnership with the eThekwini Municipality, will host a Benefit Concert for Autism with Vusi Mahlasela on June 14 at the Durban City Hall.

Action in Autism is a non-profit organisation established to act as a lobbyist, support and fundraising body for parents of children diagnosed with autism. The central focus of the organisation is to improve the quality of life for people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and their caregivers.

One of Action in Autism’s flagship projects is its Early Learning Intervention and Resource Centre which has been running for the past 5 years and is temporarily based at 74 Keal Road, Sydenham, Durban, 4001. The Early Learning Intervention Centre provides a pivotal space of excellence in early intervention and therapy for infants and children aged between two and six years old. Each child enrolled at the centre receives daily one-on-one intervention, weekly speech-language and occupational therapy from a staff of 10 full time and two part time professionals in the field of autism.

Born and raised in the Mamelodi Township, just outside Pretoria, self-taught guitarist Vusi Mahlasela built his first guitar from fishing lines and a cooking oil can. In 1976, His political education began as he witnessed the devastating massacre of more than 200 black South Africans in the Soweto Uprising. He responded through his music, inspiring other musicians and listeners around him. He began to write songs of justice, of freedom, of revolution, of love, of peace and of life. He joined a poetry group, The Ancestors of Africa, and also joined the Congress of South African Writers, a group of like-minded artists and writers, including Nobel Laureate Nadine Gordimer who paid for Mahlasela’s first guitar lessons. At this point, his political activism truly began.

This past year, the SAMA Awards (South African Music Awards) chose to honour Vusi with a Lifetime Achievement award to recognize his accomplishments both at home and abroad. The honour made the troubadour take a look back and realize that in what felt like a blink of the eye, it had been 20 years since the release of When You Come Back. In celebration, he got the band together and put on a big show at the Lyric Theatre in Johannesburg - and recorded it.

Opening act is Durban’s music hero Ernie Smith whose mix of Jazz, African and R&B references will no doubt get the crowd revving up for Mahlasela.

“International statistics indicate numbers as high as 1:110 people being diagnosed with Autism,” says Director and Founder of Action in Autism, Liza Aziz. “The focus of the benefit concert is to raise public awareness for Autism Spectrum Disorder whilst at the same time raising much-needed funds to build an Autism Centre to cater for those most in need.”

The Benefit Concert will take place from 19h00 on June 14 at the Durban City Hall. Tickets R180 to R250 booked through Computicket. Corporate packages for 10 or more tickets are available.

For more information on Action in Autism, the Benefit Concert, to block book a corporate package or how you can get involved in assisting the centre, contact Kirsten Miller on 031 207 4858 or email: