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Saturday, December 24, 2016


(David Jenkins, also known as Qadasi)

The third Awesome Ilembe Music Festival – featuring a packed day-long line-up of more than 20 acts including Mafikizolo, Zahara, Mbijana Sibisi, Qadasi and Maqhinga Radebe, takes place in Groutville in KwaDukuza on the KZN North Coast on December 27.

The festival comprises a full-day of music at the Groutville Sports Grounds, and a morning programme at the nearby Luthuli Museum which includes a workshop and a Q&A with select musicians.

The festival is a partnership between the Department of Arts and Culture and producers Awesome Africa Festival Productions. The multi-cultural event will take the music to the people – and directly involve the communities of KwaDukuza, Mandeni, Ndwedwe and, Maphumulo.

The festival will feature 20 acts, comprising more than 50 performers, both big name headline acts and a large fringe line-up of local and regional talent across various genres.

Headline acts include Theo Kgosinkwe and Nhlanhla Nciza – better known as Mafikizolo – three times SAMA award winners for group / duo of the year who will be performing their trademark blend of Afro-Pop, Kwela and Marabi – with some great blues and swing influences.

East London-born singer-songwriter Bulelwa Mkutukana AKA Zahara – a multi award-winning AfroSoul diva with an astonishing voice. She is also a poet, philanthropist and official ambassador of The Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital.

Former dental technician and a featured contestant in The Voice SA (for Team Karen), Durban singer songwriter guitarist, Mbijana Sibisi joins the line up presenting his own style of fusion blues, African rhythms and maskandi.

David Jenkins, also known as Qadasi, is an accomplished Maskandi musician who developed a deep passion for Zulu culture and music at a young age growing up in Empangeni. He will be performing with his firm friend and regular associate, fellow Maskandi musician, Maqhinga Radebe.

In keeping with the festival’s aim of showcasing local talent, it is envisaged that, up to 80% of all talent will be drawn from the iLembe region.

“It is great to see such iconic and unique brands provide great entertainment for the communities. No longer will major events and artists dominate the big cities. As the Department of Arts and Culture, we are very proud and excited to associate ourselves with this unique brand and concept. Besides many pro-active socio- economic elements, the Festival also addresses the vital aspects of social cohesion and nation building in our country. We pride ourselves in taking the music and the arts back to the people,” says MEC for Arts & Culture Bongi Sithole-Moloi.

“With great historical sites along the King Shaka Heritage route and the Chief Albert Luthuli Museum, the Ndondakusuka Hills and the Nhlangakazi Mountains, we see this festival growing organically in the future, enticing tourists not only from South Africa, but also for the world to come and share our community spirit and talent.” she adds.

Adds Festival Director Princess Nandi Zulu, “The festival aims to be an iconic event that will last into posterity, and the added components of a local talent search and a capacity-building programme will address inherent societal issues such as economic development, job creation, skills transfer and talent identification, making it a truly unique event.”

The main stage is at the Groutville Sports Ground, which is a walking distance from the museum, and will host an exciting line up including Mafikizolo, Mbijana Sibisi, Zahara, Qadasi & Maqhinga Radebe, Groutville Hip Hop All Stars, Uhuru Poets Society, Drummers of Burundi, Feast of Famine, Nancy G, Mashabuque, Kwini Kusa, Kalakar, Zamalinda Mbatha, Bonginkosi Buthelezi, Fenyeza, Galaza, Kwenzo Ndlovu, Siyanda Maphumulo, DJ Chief and DJ TPM.

The Awesome Ilembe Music Festival takes place on December 27 from 09h00 until 18h30 at KwaDukuza Groutville Sports Grounds / Luthuli Museum. Entrance R50 at the gate or booked through Computicket. For more information contact 076 264 4289, email: or visit