Thandi Ntuli will keep it authentic at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival

Thandi Ntuli

Thandi Ntuli

Published Apr 20, 2024


Thandi Ntuli, the South African multi-award-winning and internationally recognised pianist and vocalist, is set to present her original works at the upcoming Cape Town International Jazz Festival (CTIJF).

In a recent interview, she discusses her musical journey, influences, and the deeply introspective nature of her compositions.

Ntuli, who is from Soshanguve, had an early start with classical piano lessons at the age of 4.

Her musical evolution led her to pursue jazz, a genre she feels closer to, resonating with the African-American narrative which mirrors aspects of South Africa's own story.

She describes her musical approach as a quest for authenticity, seeking to express all facets of her identity and heritage while acknowledging the country's dynamic and evolving musical landscape.

Her music serves as a reflection of her surroundings, offering a poignant commentary on societal issues in South Africa.

Thandi Ntuli

Ntuli's album Exiled, for example, explores themes of displacement and cultural identity, stemming from her personal experiences and observations of the country's social ills inherited from its history.

Ntuli's compositions delve into her inner world, serving as a means to process and confront the external realities she encounters. For instance, her song New Way was inspired by the tragic story of Karabo Mokoena, reflecting on the pervasive issue of femicide in South Africa.

Her music, therefore, acts as a medium to navigate and express her internal struggles and responses to the world around her.

For her CTIJF 2024 performance, Ntuli will be joined by drummer Sphelelo Mazibuko and percussionist Tlale Makhene, presenting an immersive and improvised set.

Ntuli's collaboration with these talented musicians promises a captivating showcase of her artistic vision.

The CTIJF holds a special significance for Ntuli, who says she appreciates the opportunity to perform on home soil and connect with fellow musicians and audiences. She acknowledges the festival's status as a world-class event and looks forward to both performing and experiencing the diverse line-up it offers.

Come May 3 and 4, jazz fans will flock to the Cape Town International Convention Centre for CTIJF 2024.

Asked what appeal the festival holds for her, Ntuli replied: “Well, I love the jazz festival. I've always enjoyed the line-up and being able to meet the other musicians that I probably wouldn't be able to meet.

“I also love performing at home, because my music is influenced by this place that I am in, South Africa. It's a world-class festival and I'm grateful to be a part of the line-up.”

To see Thandi, who is on the 30-artist billing at this year's 21st edition of what's known as “Africa's Grandest Gathering”, head to to book tickets before it's too late.

For more information download the Cape Town Jazz Festival app from your App Store, or see