It was probably not a case of Nero playing his fiddle or Rome burning.
However, at the 15th Cape Town International Jazz Festival at the weekend, President Jacob Zuma seemed to have forgotten about Thuli Madonsela and Nkandla.
He and about 30 000 other music lovers enjoyed a world-class event. With five stages in and around Cape Town International Convention Centre, “Africa’s grandest gathering” was headlined by Erykah Badu, Shakatak and Level 42.
The legendary Jonas Gwangwa had the privilege of opening proceedings on Friday.
Mi Casa brought the house down when they played their big hits like These Streets and Jika. The Soil were also particularly good, as was Jimmy Nevis. Dance music fans enjoyed Mix n Blend’s electro boogie as well as Black Coffee, who closed Friday night’s party at 1.30am.
The festival has cleverly incorporated fringe events around Cape Town, including Greenmarket Square, where the traditional free concert took place on Wednesday.
Saturday’s highlight was The Muffinz. This five-piece rock-meets-Afro neo soul outfit played to a packed out Moses Molelekwa auditorium. The predominantly young audience sang loudly to every song.
Another big talking point was the performance of Bokani Dyer and Kyle Shepherd, who many are predicting will be the next big legends among jazz pianists. They played on the strictly jazz stage, Rosies, and were followed by the ultimate South African jazz pianist legend, Abdullah Ibrahim.
Dyer also enjoyed a tremendous gig with another of his bands, Soul Housing Project. The lead singer of the group, Sakhile Moleshe, redefined his signature Goldfish house vocals with an amazing understanding of jazz arrangements.
The festival demonstrated just how all-encompassing it has become when it finished off with hip-hop stars AKA and Da Les.
Last year the event contributed more than R520 million to the local economy.
It attracted journalists from across Africa and the world and created some 2 700 temporary jobs.
Ahead of the event, Grant Pascoe, the mayoral committee member for tourism, events and marketing, told the Cape Argus that the festival was a highlight on the city’s annual events calendar. - Cape Argus