Gabi Motuba among the artists on the bill for the inaugural Marabastad jazz fest

Gabi Motuba. Picture: Facebook

Gabi Motuba. Picture: Facebook

Published Mar 3, 2023


Renowned jazz musicians Norman Chauke, Gabisile “Gabi” Motuba, Azah Mphago and Ayanda Sikade will pay homage to the historical town of Marabastad at a special jazz festival this weekend.

Set to become a hallmark annual event, the festival shines a spotlight on local jazz musicians while uniting people through song and dance.

Hosted by art historian and writer Percy Mabandu, the festival will be held at the South African State Theatre on Saturday, March 4 .

“I believe The Marabastad Jazz festival is putting to the Pretorian community to remember the lives of the people who occupied the Marabastad township and to also remember what the lives of the people represented and their contribution to the liberation struggle,” Motuba told IOL Entertainment.

“Through the lamentation and celebration, we make evident the violent histories that form part of our collective loss as a country.

The Mamelodi born-star stated says being part of this great initiative was a no-brainer for her.

“I knew I had to contribute to this project in some way or another as Marabastad holds so much importance and significance to the history of the people of Pretoria.

“And I look forward to seeing music that embodies the richness and cultural diversity which has always formed the backdrop of the Pretorian lived experience. How different languages, cultures, customs just collapse into one another and create new forms of identity.”

To mark the prestigious occasion, Motuba will debut music from her forthcoming album, “The Sabbath,” which celebrates the singer’s later father.

“The title is borrowed from the biblical idea of the Sabbath Day, which was known to have been the day God rested after having completed creation.

“So The Sabbath Day becomes a marking of the moment after a significant event has taken place. My project contributes to this maker in that it attempts to remember and take account of what has been lost.”

The 10-track album will be releasing on July 6, on what would have been Motuba’s father’s birthday.

“This project came by way of the passing of my father. So it is largely a very reflective work for me.

Motuba’s father passed in July 2020, a day before his birthday.

The original Maraba Village, situated just to the south of the present Marabastad, was founded and ruled by the Ndebele Chief Maraba. The name Marabastad is Afrikaans for Maraba's town.

Marabastad was a culturally diverse community, with the Hindu Mariamman Temple arguably being its most prominent landmark.

Like the residents of other racially diverse areas in South Africa such as District Six and Sophiatown, the inhabitants of Marabastad were relocated to single-race townships further away from the city centre.

The black residents of Marabastad were relocated to Atteridgeville, Coloureds to Eersterus and Indians were moved to Laudium.

Tickets to the Marabastad jazz festival are available at Webtickets and cost R200.