Africa’s Grandest Jazz Festival, the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz marked Women’s month by celebrating the life and legacy of Miriam Makeba on Thursday, 31 August 2023 at The View Boutique Hotel.

The event was a milestone celebration on the journey to the 2023 Standard Bank Joy of Jazz which takes place on 29, and 30 September 2023 at the Sandton Convention Centre. 

During August, as the nation observes Women’s Month, the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz brought together legions of women in the arts for a day to reflect, share, pray and celebrate each other in the context and memory of one the greatest creative women in history.

Makeba found a unique way to use her artistry to campaign for human rights and speak against apartheid-colonialism. She was exiled from the country of her birth for 30 years. However, through her tenacity and work, she would be granted nine passports and honorary citizenship in 10 countries. This made her a unique citizen of the world.

The celebration featured incredible Simphiwe Dana and her band which comprises drummer Nozipho Mnguni, Aus Tebza on bass guitar, and vocal backline that features, Wandithanda Makandula on tenor, Busi Sibeko on alto and Zama Jantjie soprano. 

Zenzi Makeba-Lee, the granddaughter of the late great Mama Africa, led performances of some of the iconic songs that defined her legendary career.

Along with the musical performances, the celebrations included the Mama Miriam’s Aluta Continua Exhibition and screening of her historic 1963 speech at the United Nations. This July marked the 60th anniversary of that momentous occasion. 

The guests were treated to an exhibition of some of the iconic garments, headgear and accessories worn by Miriam Makeba over the years. Some of these will be recreated by an artist and illustrator, Sonny Nkumeleni to celebrate Mama Africa’s regal sense of style. 

Chef Mpho from Food I love You Restaurant curated a reimagined Three (3) course meal of Miriam Makeba’s favourite cuisines from her own recipes. This was a way to pay tribute to Makeba’s famous hospitality and how she made a home in every country she lived in during her long productive life.

“Every woman, especially in the arts, has been inspired and touched by Miriam Makeba and her spirit…as women who are working in the arts we take much inspiration from her life and work. She is an unmatched example of how one can use their excellence as a working artist to improve the lives of others,” said Mantwa Chinoamadi-Mutshinya, Festival Producer and CEO of the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz.

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