Joy of Jazz Festival: Music, tourism and food


August 19, 2011 – It is that time of the year when Johannesburg jives, bops and boogies to the smooth sounds of live jazz as the Joy of Jazz Festival takes to the stage from its headquarters in the Newtown Precinct.

It’s four days of sexy creativity, excitement, self expression and warmth. And it draws thousands of jazz fans both from Johannesburg and from further afield. People flock to the Joy of Jazz Festival from all over South Africa and they come in droves from our neighbouring countries such as Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Mozambique and even from African countries further away like Nigeria, Kenya and Angola. They all come to Joburg for the Jazz. And if they make the pilgrimage once, it’s almost certain they return year after year after year.

Jazz lovers from all over come to worship at the feet of jazz legends… or legends in the making and one such legend is Tu Nokwe. She has the DNA of one of South Africa’s greatest musical families. She released her debut album, Inyakanyaka in 1996. Her distinctive style combines New Age African, spiritual, and Afro-jazz funk. Tu is a well-travelled performer and has delighted audiences around the world with her fabulous live shows.

While she is well-travelled, Tu still has two favourite places in the city of gold; the Newtown Precinct and the Greenside coffee society in this charming village in the north of Johannesburg.

Music is one of a country’s uniquely distinctive features and nowhere in South Africa is the jazz industry’s vivacious cultural and lifestyle influence and ethnic energy more evident than in the Newtown Precinct. The Newtown Precinct in recent years has become a cultural hub in South Africa and a tourist hotspot. Major attractions include the Museum Africa and the Market Theater. However jazz lovers can stop by Horror Cafe (music and street poetry), Songwriter’s Club, Carfax and the Bassline. “My favourite spot is Sophiatown in Newtown, especially on Saturday nights to mingle with different kinds of people, watch and listen to local quality music by young bands” says Tu.

Greenside is one of Joburg’s favourite weekend destinations, with streets lined with some of the city’s best eateries.  The area is renowned for its lifestyle and décor shopping and is one of the best places to spend an early-spring Johannesburg afternoon. The streets are best explored on foot and over a few hours; exploring every store and stopping for pavement-side refreshments and snacks along the way.

On asking Tu what inspires her music about Joburg, she responds “the way jazz is loosely interpreted allows freedom of musical expression, simplicity, confidence and creative license to experiment with the blend of different genres.”

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Many of South Africa’s great Jazz musicians have performed and found fame in Newtown. The Joy of Jazz 2011 will bring South Africa’s great musicians back to Newtown as they perform in seven venues this year; Conga Stage which is the brand new main stage featuring upbeat jazz and world music, Dinaledi stage, Mbira Stage, Bassline, Sophiatown, Shikisha and Nikki’s Oasis.

Another Jazz legend to look out for is Simphiwe Dana an award‐winning singer whose albums have triumphed on both the local and international music charts. Her music is captivating and captures the hearts of those listening to it. Her third album released in 2010; Kulture Noir ‐ has been receiving praise from all over world.

Simphiwe’s favourite spot in Johannesburg is Emmarentia and in particular the Botanic Gardens. The beautiful vast green surroundings are popular with picnickers, cyclists and runners. On weekends the sloped grass embankments are filled with those taking part in picnics or braais. Emmarentia Dam (adjacent to the Botanic Gardens) is another great spot to enjoying canoeing, sailing and wind surfing.

Simipwe says she is deeply inspired by the people of Johannesburg. “This is a very cosmopolitan city. Parts of Johannesburg are deeply, and deliciously, African. And parts of it are very European. The mix of cultures, styles, languages, forms of expression is a pressure cooker for creativity. I love this city.”

South African Tourism is once again supporting the Joburg Joy of Jazz this year so as to promote the country as a lifestyle destination to its overseas and in particular African markets. “We at South African Tourism are excited to support the 2011 Standard Bank Joy of Jazz and it will serve as a platform for South Africa to showcase Johannesburg as a music capital and South Africans as warm and welcoming people. Music is such an integral part of our culture and who we are and we are pleased to share our diversity, creativity and heritage with the rest of the world,” says Sugen Pillay, Global Manager: Events at South African Tourism.

Pillay adds that the Joy of Jazz also presents an opportunity for South Africa to showcase its Arts and Culture and Africa’s greatest and most cosmopolitan city.

The Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Joburg Festival takes place between from August 24 to 27. Musicians to watch out for include include legendary American jazz great Wynton Marsails as well as Dee Dee Bridgewater and McCoy Tyner, South African greats Hugh Masekela and Sibongile Khumalo and African musicians Nigeria’s Olufemi, Angola’s Bonga and Zimbabwe’s Oliver Mtukudzi.



  • one love kenya

    I feel stupid for reading this article. It totally has escaped its purpose. Furthermore it is from the president. Must be reading from the same script will Ole Lenku. I am so dissapointed…

    • Qwani

      Don’t worry you will feel much better when those responsible are made to face the law!!

  • Wa hinga

    As a kenyan, this act is a prove that it have been no alshabab attacks but a politically plan that have a long term plan against our President and Kenya as whole. this is the way of the West in fear of the mature relationship of our state and China, that they the enemies of our forefathers have particularly train and supported the Cord leaders to defy our brother hood to becoming killers of one anther, to my father Odinga “doing the west way will not at anytime bear any good” baba think and think again our tribe have proved strong over the west long time now and no other can suppress our freedom to business.

    Wainaina wa Hinga

  • Qwani

    The President is absolutely right on this one. There were just too many coincidences in those attacks. I’m very sure the NIS has seen those patterns which are just so obvious. Everything is now falling into place and the motive is now making perfect sense. Let the perpetrators face the full force of the law. They can be sent to the Hague if the need be!!

  • MajorT

    Too much verbage and little action. Kusema name Kutenda is the way to go.
    1. Bring to justice so called inciter politicians.
    2. Hold accountable police officers who neglected duty
    3. Arm police with modern weapons, AK47 bure kabisa!

  • demarq

    I doubt this was politically motivated, I feel this is a fictitious rumour that is being spread to counter Odinga’s recent verbal attacks. As much as I distrust Raila, I also don’t support spreading vicious rumours just to get even. Two wrongs don’t make it right.

    If Jubilie continues to tread down this path, I will no longer support them in any way!

  • Democracy

    Would playing the blame game unite Kenyans? Would tacitly and indirectly pointing an accusing finger at CORD for triggering and/or taking part in these terrorist attacks gather Kenyans? I think Uhuru has it entirely wrong on this one. Threatening infuential political leaders while exonerating the terrorists who have owned up to these dreadful incidents will only throw oil on the fire. With all due respect to the President, I don’t think this is a speech that would unite and positively inspire the already divided Kenyans. What does the government expect from the opposition in times of blatant crisis? Does he expect them to stand aside and look while things are go wrong? If that’s the case, why then would there be need of oppositon? No, Uhuru should call upon the opposition leaders rather than challenge them. He should have made a better speech than this shallow one and not from State House but from Mpeketoni.

    • Qwani

      The intelligence report has pointed out the likely source of the problem. It doesn’t matter how low or how high one may be in society the law is the law. Let due process be followed.
      You seem to place so much faith on this so called message from al-shabaab. Can you verify the authenticity of the source??
      Today Boko haram have struck in Nigeria. That is a genuine terror attack where the victims are targeted indiscriminately.
      The pattern and timing of the attacks we have been experiencing of late, raises a lot of questions which don’t make any sense within the realm of terrorism.
      I think the President is way beyond listening to people suggesting where he can and can’t give speeches. That is entirely his prerogative.

      • Democracy

        Unlike myself who is unable to verify the authenticity of an Al Shabaab message, you on the other hand, seem to be an expert of the contrary so kindly unlighten us on the basis on which you dismiss the alleged Al Shabaab message in favor of the ridiculous idea that Raila Odinga and Kalonzo are now engaging in terrorist activities in Lamu, Eastleigh and Westlands.

        “The pattern and timing of the attacks we have been experiencing of late, raises a lot of questions which don’t make any sense within the realm of terrorism”. Can you even read your own words!? Of course they don’t make sense that is why they are terrorist attacks. The aim is to cause terror and not to make sense. Boko Haram have kidnapped more than 300 school girls in Nigeria; Where is the sens and how indiscriminate is this?

        It’s very good and opportune of you to mention Nigeria because Mr. Jonathan, their current President is under immense pressure from the main opposition party over his failure to secure Nigerians and crush Boko Haram. Mr Obansanjo twice President and powerful political Godfather, has openly fallen out with Mr. Jonathan and stated in a an open letter that because of this failure it would be immoral for Mr. Jonathan to seek a second term in 2015. Never though and inspite of this, has Mr. Jonathan accused the opposition of triggering terrorist attacks or even inciting Nigerians with these kind of statements.

        Yes, my friend, it is the President’s prerogative to make speeches from any location of his choice but it would be unwise and undemocratic for him to be “beyond listening to people”. We are in a democracy or so I believe, and the President “should” if anything, listen to people.

        • Qwani

          I don’t believe neither I nor the President has mentioned anyone by name, you are the one jumping to conclusions. You need to allow investigations to proceed and thereafter prosecutions can begin. Locally if possible or in the extreme at the Hague.
          As for listening to the people, not all the people are experts in everything to the extent that they can demand dialogue or nusu mkate with the government when they feel the urge to do so.
          People demand results, which is a term Mr. nusu mkate just couldn’t get to terms with. His track record is pathetic and can offer nothing useful in resolving the problems this country faces!!

  • Kennedy Msema Kweli

    The Jubilee GoK is surely a CURSED government. They stole the election shamelessly so karma is now serving them their just dessert cold. GOD Bles & Protect Kenya

  • Gabby

    Or have no conflicts at all……

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