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CONTINENTAL AMBASSADOR: Zimbabwean artist Oliver Mtukudzi will perform with Shabalala Rhythm as part of the Africa Day Concert this weekend.

”I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself.” Those were the words of the late Tata Madiba.

It’s remarkable how one individual was considered a transformative force in South Africa and the rest of the world.

So as we celebrate Africa Day (Sunday), all of us owe it to ourselves to follow in our great leader’s footsteps. With the Africa Day Concerts lined up this weekend, the notion remains to celebrate African unity by reflecting the continent’s talent through music.

On Saturday and Sunday, people across the continent can unite for the Africa Day Concerts with Oliver Mtukudzi and Shabalala Rhythm. Also, the African Renaissance annual Africa Day Concert will take place at the Durban ICC on Sunday featuring a stellar line-up of our continent’s best.

Tonight caught up with Sibongiseni Shabalala of the Maskandi act, Shabalala Rhythm, to learn more about his involvement in the concerts with Zimbabwean Mtukudzi.

The two concerts featuring both acts are hosted by the Caversham Mill Restaurant in the Midlands and the Rainbow Restaurant in Pinetown.

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ON THE DECKS: DJ Sgqemeza is on the bill for the African Renaissance annual Africa Day Concert at the Durban ICC on Sunday.

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Chatting about the event, Shabalala says it is a privilege to be a part of it: “It’s about being African and celebrating Africa. Also, it’s part of celebrating our 20 years of democracy.

“So we get to celebrate our music as Africans and we are honoured to get Oliver here to celebrate with us. From hearing it’s going to be an energetic and exciting night with great music, it’s something to cheer about and to come together to celebrate Africa.”

The concert at Caversham Mill will feature Mtukudzi and Shabalala Rhythm and is supported by David “Qadasi” Jenkins, whereas the show at the Rainbow restaurant will feature Mtukudzi, Shabalala Rhythm and the Parisian band Akalé Wubé.

In terms of Shabalala Rhythm, the energetic entertainer says their music represents the culture of the people of South Africa: “Our music is about the celebration of life because we sing about love, life and all things after the apartheid era.”

Steering the conversation to Ladysmith Black Mambazo of which Shabalala is also a member, he says the senior members of his family are taking his father’s dream forward through the music of South Africa and the world.

“Ladysmith Black Mambazo is not a one-man group any more, fronted by one particular person. We are treating it as an institution where everyone can join the team.

“Also, we want to teach the youth about their culture and music. So with my brothers, we are working together to achieve that. We are educating people in Africa about their music and culture,” he adds.

Then, a separate event, but also embodying the same message, is the African Renaissance annual Africa Day Concert at the Durban ICC which takes place on Sunday. The line-up includes house trio MiCasa, house music group Uhuru (featuring Professor) and club DJ and Ukhozi FM radio presenter, DJ Sgqemeza. The 35-year-old presenter/DJ is also the brand ambassador for KwaZulu-Natal Liquor Authority, motivating youth regarding alcohol abuse and teenage drinking.

• Africa Day Concerts with Oliver Mtukudzi and Shabalala Rhythm on Saturday at Caversham Mill (033 234 4524) and Sunday at Rainbow Restaurant (031 702 9161). Africa Day at Durban ICC on Sunday. Book at Computicket.


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