Khuli Chana and Notshi. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha
Khuli Chana and Notshi. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha
Joyous Celebration. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha
Joyous Celebration. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha
Letta Mbulu and Caiphus Semenya. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha
Letta Mbulu and Caiphus Semenya. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha
Joyous Celebration. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha
Joyous Celebration. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha

In its third year, the Mahika Mahikeng Cultural Music Festival is one of the biggest events to visit the quiet and small town. Thousands of music lovers descended, greatly boosting short-term employment and the tourism economy. 

After spending last weekend engrossed in the festivities, here are my top five moments:

The epic Jabba performance

The Maftown Heights set was like seeing a long-lost relative after months. The performance was every bit emotionally tapped in, featuring just the right amount of soul and energy. It was fantastic seeing Jabba light up the stage with Thaso in a spirited performance of Wamo tseba mtho?

Letta and Caiphus
These veteran artists were some of the the headliners of the jazz and soul festival that happened on Sunday. While slightly different from the usual, their performances were still an education to younger audience members about quality music and great performances. Hearing Angelina and Caiphus’s tenor took me back to relaxed Sunday afternoons in my mother’s lounge.

David Kau

He curated a list of some lesser known comedians, among them Tieho Khakhau and Kagiso Mogale, stellar sets that these gentlemen performed kept all of us in stitches. I was pleasantly surprised to hear comedy in Sotho as performed by Khaukhau, which was possibly why I was able to relate to the comedy. And the most important ingredient was there: they were funny. 

Joyous Celebration

The gospel powerhouse had us moved into higher levels of holiness and consciousness with their infectious remakes of popular hymns and some of their own material.The choir performed songs from the current Joyous 21 album and started teasing music from Joyous 22, the DVD which was filmed the following day. The production was of a high quality, with vocalists who were out of this world. 

The Party Bus
The open-top party bus was a wonderful way to share the vibrance and cheer with the rest of the city’s people. A simple double-decker bus, painted in the colours of the festival, had speakers blaring the latest house and gqom tunes. 

Besides that, there was some really good company aboard this bus and the reaction of the locals to it was what made it special. 

Children would immediately start waving excitedly and break into dance moves and adults would simply smile. It brought to them, even if it was merely momentarily, joy and laughter and that is priceless.

Chatting to Selaelo Selota after his electric performance at the Soul and Jazz festival, he remarked that the festival had done all it could to cement itself as a quality outing for music lovers.

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