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Monday, April 19, 2021


South African Jazz: Connecting the Tradition is the theme for an online festival that will be presented on April 27, 2021, as a partnership project of the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), Arts & Culture at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music at UKZN, and the South African Association for Jazz Education.

The theme is inspired by a broad conference topic, Does Jazz Matter?, which would have been hosted by the South African Association for Jazz Education later this year, but which had to be cancelled because of the national lockdowns. The one-day free to attend online mini-festival will be presented to mark the global Jazz Appreciation Month celebrations.

Jazz Appreciation Month (fondly known as “JAM”) is a global event held in April every year to recognize and celebrate the extraordinary heritage and history of jazz. JAM is intended to stimulate and encourage people of all ages to participate in jazz – to study the music, attend concerts, listen to jazz on radio and recordings, read books about jazz, and more.

Legendary South African composer Todd Matshikiza will be spotlighted in two webinars during the festival. In Milestones: The Todd Matshikza Centenary, veteran South African journalist Sam Mathe will discuss the life and career of legendary composer Todd Matshikiza with Dr Lindelwa Dalamba (Wits University), Dr Sazi Dlamini (University of KwaZulu-Natal), Ms Nomfundo Xaluva (University of Cape Town) and Dr Carol Muller (University of Pennsylvania).

In another webinar King Kong: 60 Years Later, Adam Glasser will present his popular lecture reflecting on the musical 60 years after its staging. The legendary 60’s musical King Kong written by Todd Matshikiza has always been part of London-based South African harmonica player and pianist, Adam Glasser’s personal history. As a child he saw dress rehearsals in the Wits Great Hall before the cast left for London in 1961 with his father Stanley ‘Spike’ Glasser, their musical director.

Adam’s mother Mona wrote the only book ever published on King Kong. As a Johannesburg teenager, Adam was drawn often to Dorkay House to seek out original musicians from the King Kong band and has a particularly strong memory of meeting Mackay Davashe and then attending his funeral in Soweto just a few days later in January 1971.

Covid-19: Impacts on the Jazz Festival and Gig economy webinar presented on the day, print and digital media journalist Atiyyah Khan will probe the impact of Covid-19 on the Jazz Festival and Gig economy. She will moderate a discussion with Billy Domingo (Cape Town International Jazz Festival), Mantwa Chinoamadi (Joy of Jazz), Alan Webster (National Youth Jazz Festival) and independent promoters Marlyn Knol and Nikki Froneman.

In Dreaming and Believing: New South African Voices in Jazz, Brenda Sisane will present an exciting programme featuring six young South African Jazz musicians, their music and discuss with them their aspirations.

The full programme for the one-day festival, which will feature musicians, jazz writers and academic scholars, will be live streamed on the social media platforms of all the partners. The full festival programme is available on the websites of each of the partners and will be live streamed on all social media platforms.

Centre for Creative Art:

UJ Arts & Culture:

South African Association for Jazz Education:

Centre for Jazz and Popular Music:


For more information, contact Lakin Morgan-Baatjies on email: