African Music and Dance celebrated at African Cultural Calabash and Cuisine
African Music and Dance (AMD) third-year students under the directorship of senior lecturer Dr Patricia Opondo recently hosted the successful 13th Annual African Cultural Calabash and African Cuisine at the Howard College Theatre.
The theme of the concert which celebrated and promoted African cultural heritage was Our Culture, Our Pride.
The concert featured a stellar line-up of KwaZulu-Natal artists performing music and dance traditions showcasing African creativity. UKZN AMD Ensemble students opened the concert with vibrant percussion, followed by a Ugandan dance piece.
Calabash Chair Ms Veracious Shazi said, ‘The sold-out concert allowed students to work as a team. It was wonderful to see audiences enjoying our performances. It bolstered our confidence, preparing us for larger scale concerts. It was also a first in which Curators performed simultaneously.’
AMD student and MC for the night Mr Thabiso Cele added, ‘Sharing the stage with some of the other artists was great too. We got to speak to them face to face, learning from them. Eshowe born Mbuso Khoza together with his African Heritage Ensemble advised us to remain humble and to use our music to uplift communities and develop other upcoming artists. I enjoyed performances by Thee Legacy because of their interactivity with the audience and their unique music genre.’
Other performances on the night were by KZN’s Maskandi maestro Mfiliseni Magubane, who gave an incredible solo set on maskandi guitar. He said, ‘It was great to see young UKZN artists performing. They are talented. I know that they have the skills and passion to make it in the industry. The African Cultural Calabash is a good platform to celebrate African heritage. I thank the organisers for including me in the concert. I hope the Calabash continues for many more years.’
AMD alumnus Ms Nozuko Nguqu started her career in music as a backing vocalist for Magubane, who inspired her music a lot.
The guest speaker for the evening was UKZN alumnus from the AMD programme Ms Thabile Buthelezi, who was excited to return to the University stage to inspire current students and the audience. She discussed cultural diversity and the importance of engaging, maintaining and celebrating South African culture. Buthelezi encouraged the audience to ‘preserve our cultural heritage’ and to be ‘proud of our heritage and all it stands for.’
Closing the concert for the night was a hostel group from KwaMashu called Amaphikankani who gave a jaw-dropping, feet thumping showcase. Amaphikankani’s show-stopping performance led to several AMD alumni taking to the stage along with guest speaker Buthelezi.
Opondo thanked the National Arts Council of South Africa, SAMRO Foundation and Concerts SA for sponsoring the 13th edition of the African Cultural Calabash.
Words: Melissa Mungroo
Photographs: Val Adamson