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Ahmed Kathrada, former Robben Island prisoner with Madiba, will celebrate his 84th birthday in a remarkable way on Saturday. Okay, it’s not on the level of IT millionaire Robert Gumede (whose could compare?), but it’s pretty wild for an octogenarian.
His birthday, which is to be hosted by the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, will take place at the Lyric Theatre, Gold Reef City. It is to be compered by the beautiful and talented actress, Leeanda Reddy.
She will introduce us to the Madzeve Dzeve Fusion Band which features legendary saxophonists, Khaya Mahlangu and Barney Rachabane with the great Paul Hanmer on piano.
Gordon Jackson is another saxophonist who was invited to perform at the birthday party.
A surprise act on the line-up is the all-girl group, Jamali (pictured). This R&B/hip hop/pop trio have proved their worth in the youth market. Having won the Coca-Cola Popstars competition all those years back, they have become one of the most enduring acts to have won a reality television show.
However, will they impress the serious jazz heads who will be at the concert to watch serious jazz musicians? The trio will have to up their game even further, perhaps omit their outrageous dance moves and add a jazz standard or two. This should not be hard as, particularly Mariechan, has a great and versatile voice.
Kathrada’s birthday is today. However, in a press release he said he looked forward to celebrating it at Gold Reef City.
The event aims to raise funds to fulfil “the continual, dedicated work of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation which has included donating books to schoolchildren, empowering the youth through education and a future building project with a collection of historical information and recordings.” – Therese Owen