All-star carnival of rhythm

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THE inaugural Siyagiya Durban International Music & Cultural Carnival is set to stage this weekend, featuring a mix of live entertainment, including a “Broadway-style extravaganza”.

The brainchild of South African theatre and enter- tainment practitioner Mbongeni Ngema, the event takes place on Friday at Westridge stadium from 1pm until late.

Siyagiya’s line-up features a host of big league per- formers, including top I’scathamiya groups, prom- inent gospel artists, Afro-pop artists, Afrosoul, Zonke and Freshlyground.

As a grand finale, Siyagiya’s main stage extravaganza runs from 8pm until midnight. With live backing by a 15-piece live band, the production stars headliners such as Mbongeni Ngema, Thandiswa Mazwai, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Nigeria’s Omawumi, Jimmy Dludlu and more.

Tonight caught up with Afrosoul (pictured) frontman Sabelo Ngema to find out more about what they’d be bringing to stage this weekend.

Explaining their music, Sabelo said he and group members Sergeant Malishe and Thandeka Zulu created music that “speaks to all the people who love Afro-pop and soul”.

Commenting on their choice to sing in Zulu, he said: “Using the mother language is always advisable as it shows you are proud of who you are. It also does affect us in terms of accom- modating all ages and races. On our new album we sing in at least six languages – English, Xhosa, Sotho, Setswana, Zulu and Swahili so I’d say we have catered for all,” he smiled.

Expressing his thoughts on the Siyagiya Carnival – which in future years is planned to be a week-long event with a programme that will run at venues across the greater Durban area, and include theatre, music and international artists – Sabelo said: “Siyagiya is actually the best thing that ever happened in Durban, in fact in KZN as a whole. For Afrosoul Siyagiya is a breakthrough, sharing a stage with the names that are in the line-up will put us on another level in our musical journey.”

Commenting on carnival director Ngema, Sabelo said all the members of the Afro- soul have worked with him on a number of productions over the years.

“Ngema has done a good job for the South African entertainment industry, especially in music and theatre. He always says his passion is to see knowledge being passed on to the generations to come.”

The first Siyagiya Carnival comprises a daytime concert – 1pm to 7pm – followed by the main stage extravaganza from 8pm. Food stalls and beverage outlets will also be available.

• NO alcohol or firearms allowed. No tickets will be sold at the gate. Bookings through Computicket/ Shoprite. Tickets: from R150 to R450. Info: www.committedartists. co.za.


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