Sunday, 21 August 2016

September Jive: South Africa's Music Heritage in focus

Heads up to lovers of South African music – first in Johannesburg, but also travelling to Cape Town and Durban. A visual and aural feast of this country’s musical and artistic heritage – a buffet of movies, exhibitions, and discussions.

September Jive is a tribute to the musical heritage of South Africa. A series of events will
provide a platform to meet, discuss and engage around the incredible diversity and history that makes South Africa such a rich musical country. September Jive comprises two exhibitions as well as panel discussions, screenings, meetings and talks. It aims at promoting the South African musical heritage, from a musicological, historical and visual perspective.

SA musical graphics - classics and collectables presents 150 of the most interesting,
important and beautiful sleeve covers, with a special focus on truly South African designs, which could have emanated only from this country. The selection was made by a group consisting of collectors and designers (Siemon Allen, Rob Allingham, Caroline Hillary, Molemo Moiloa).

My favourite sounds - Music and media personalities speak out about their favourite
tracks and albums, consist of 50 photo portraits of music and media personalities including Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Johnny Clegg, Brenda Sisane… accompanied by short interviews about their favourite South African music and explaining why they chose it. This exhibition is the work of photographer Kapula.

All events are free and open to anyone.

All the events are happening at the Alliance Française of Johannesburg
17 Lower Park Drive, corner Kerry Road, opposite Zoo Lake Parkview, Johannesburg

Thursday 01 September – opening of September Jive exhibitions
SA musical graphics - classics and collectables
My favourite sounds - Music and media personalities speak out about their favourite tracks and albums

Friday 02 September (18:30) – Film screening
Phuzekhemisi (Damon Heatlie): A biographical profile of this popular Zulu Maskanda artist who became the leading voice of  protest for his beleaguered rural KZN community.

Wednesday 07 September (18:30) – lecture
Forbidden sounds, music and censorship in the time of apartheid: This presentation explores the apartheid regime's popular music censorship practices, from the banning of 'undesirable' music from distribution (and sometimes possession) to keeping the airwaves clear of subversive messages.
(presented by Michael Drewett)

Friday 09 September (18:30) – Film screening
Amandla! A Revolution In Four-Part Harmony (Lee Hirsh): "Amandla! A Revolution In Four-Part Harmony" is a soul-stirring documentary that uses exclusive interviews and rare, never-before-seen film footage to document the vital role that music played in the nearly half-century struggle against apartheid in South Africa.

Thursday 15 September (18:30) – panel discussion
Past to the present, old sounds to modern ears: This panel discussion is about the re-issues market, from compilations to original albums. It focuses on 4 specialised labels, their successes and challenges in a time of sampling and DJs. Moderator: Richard Nwamba (SAFM), Panellists: Chris Albertyn, Rob Allingham, Alain Courbis, Benjy Moody.

Friday 16 September (18:30) – Film screening
Dilemma (Peter Maxwell) – excerpt ‘Dilemma’ was a full-length dramatization of a Nadine Gordimer story filmed in 1962. It contains this one memorable musical performance with (in order of appearance) Mackay Davashe, Pricilla Booi, Vinah Benele, Tandi Mpambane (Klaasen), Mabel Mafuya, Abigail
Kubeka, Blyth Mbitjana, Kippie Moeketsi and Wanda Makhubu

African Shakes (Basil Mailer): Filmed in 1965 and aimed at the ‘teenage’ audience, ‘Africa Shakes’ was a sometimes cringe-inducing attempt to replicate the Beatles ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ in a South African setting. However, with the benefit of fifty years’ hindsight, the film can now be savoured as a rare, pre-television era document of the local music scene, both white and African. Although ‘starring’ a second-rate British ‘beat band’, Bill Kimber & The Couriers, the film includes unique cameo appearances by Ben Nkosi, Reggie Msomi, Dana Valery, Lemmy Special Mabaso, Sharon Tandy, Abigail Kubeka (backed by Peter Mokonotela, Gideon Nxumalo, Chooks Tshukudu and Early Mabuza), Brian Poole & the Tremeloes (from the UK), Una Valli, Cy Sacks and George Hayden.

Correction: Thanks to an email from Richard Laws we can correct this as follows: "We wrapped the film on my 18th birthday, May 15, 1964 (not, as is stated, in 1965), so to say that it was an attempt to somehow emulate "A Hard Days Night" would be incorrect. The two films were shot at approximately the same time. As the Couriers, we couldn't have seen The Beatles film until its release in London in July, 1964." 

Thursday 22 September (18:30) – panel discussion
SA cult albums, divine sounds? This panel discussion addresses the notion of “cult” for a work of popular art. The 1968 song Yakhal' Inkomo by Winston "Mankunku" Ngozi is one of the best possible examples of a record achieving cult status. But what does it mean? And which social and political factors are at work to make such a work cult? Moderator: Brenda Sisane (Kaya fm) Panellists: Percy Mabandu, Lloyd Ross, other panellists to be confirmed.

Friday 23 September (18:30) – Film screening
Jiving And Dying - The Radio Rats Story (Michael Cross): Twenty-five years in the making, this film introduces the music of Radio Rats and the words of Jonathan Handley in an attempt to afford them the place they deserve in the history of independent rock ’n’ roll in South Africa.

Wednesday 28 September (18:30) – lecture
A Brief History of the SA Musical Industry (presented by Rob Allingham): This talk will cover a century of producing, marketing and distributing local music, from the early years to the greatest successes and to the downward trends of the present.

Friday 30 September (18:30) – Film screening
Future sounds of Mzansi (Nthato Mokgata & Lebogang Rasethaba): Future Sounds of Mzansi is a documentary which aims to explore, express, and interrogate South Africa's cultural landscape, 20 years into its democracy... A chief vehicle of this exploration is electronic music, a staple of South African popular culture. The film explores the past, present and future of the scene and its multiple sub-genres, presented through the eyes of internationally acclaimed artist Spoek Mathambo.

September Jive is promoted by Alliance Francais in partnership with SAMRO Foundation, Institu Francais, Afrique du Sud.

For more information check out this link HERE 


  1. Hi Chris. Where's the best place to see/hear Mbaqanga (specifically the girl groups) in Durban? I'm there til Sunday. Thanks!

  2. Hell - Ty - sorry for the delayed response, I am in Nairobi this week, As far as I am aware there are no mbaqanga bands performing live in public venues - there is just not the demand to sustain it.


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