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Aside from leaving the MSC Opera with wobbly legs, the Kaya FM bash on the boat this weekend was such fun. The station really knows how to throw a party.
There were about 2 000 passengers on board, mostly guests of Kaya FM, and the fun started at noon on on Friday with the Kaya FM DJs taking us down memory lane with some old-school kwaito with ever-popular Boom Shaka and Trompies.
The party respectfully began with a few minutes of silence in honour of Nelson Mandela.
Admittedly, there were moments of guilt when people realised they were partying on a ship en route to the Portuguese Islands off the Mozambican coast while back home people were beginning the process of mourning.
In fact, it was a huge reality check when I arrived home on Monday morning and realised the global impact of his death.
The evening’s live acts began with Zakes Bantwini who, as usual, got the crowd going. His new tracks were as appreciated as his big hits from three years ago. Zakes played with his live band and his brass section added authenticity to his show.
The crowd was in such a great mood by that time that they would have danced and cheered to almost anything.
Then everybody’s current favourite, Mafikizolo, took to the stage. Their 10-year repertoire is vast and hasn’t dated at all. Their attention to detail in their performance is astounding, and both Theo Kgosinkwe and Nhanhla Nciza are singing better than when they first started. It was a fantastic performance.
I hadn’t quite got my sea legs yet, so straight after watching the two of them I thought it wiser to hit my cabin.
The MSC Opera is like a floating Cresta Shopping Mall with lots of brass railings and blue carpets. All in all there are 12 floors with the cabins just big enough to fit a double bed and two suitcases. The service on the ship was a great improvement on the first time I went on a cruise, with the 5FM Miller Rock the Boat. It was so appalling then, I remember DJ Shaun Duvet throwing a beer cup at a barman in exasperation (That was on the MSC Symphony).
This time the service was impeccable, with pizza available 24/7 as well as three top-quality meals a day.
The swimming pools were constantly filled with laughing, excited children while the adults sipped on champagne in the adjacent jacuzzis.
Unfortunately, the choppy weather did not allow us to get on to the tender boats and visit the islands so we were offered alternatives, including dance classes. That was all bit twee for me to handle but it was sweet watching Nhlanhla and Theo joining in the dance moves.
Because of the rough weather, the other live entertainment for the night, Black Motion, almost never made it on to the ship. But these sweet young producers and DJs made a plan, with the help of Kaya and the ship’s management. With their powerful live drum and DJ set, they were another highlight on Saturday night.
Sunday was the return day, and this was characterised by a long gospel set, which was surprisingly popular. The whole experience was spiritual and joyous. Again Theo took in the whole vibe while Zakes Bantwini looked on in amusement. He was kitted out in purple and green spotted socks and black flops. He called them his “happy socks”.
Later that night he left them off when he and the three live acts again took to the stage. However, by midnight my sea sickness had really kicked in and bed was calling.
The event was fun and well organised and showed why Kaya FM is one of the most successful independent radio stations in Gauteng.