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Lighting Up Cape Town Jazz Fest

The festival, now in its 18th year, has thousands of people from around the world flocking to Cape Town to enjoy some of the best talent the music industry has to offer. For some, the draw cards can be the international acts that visit our shores. The likes of Erykah Badu, Jill Scott and Lauryn Hill have all graced the Jazz Fest stage, but for many the major attractions are the incredible South African acts on offer.

Here are four South African artists who are ready to light up the stage this weekend:

Thandiswa Mazwai

I don’t have the words to describe the talent of award-winning artist Thandiswa Mazwai. This Bongo Maffin alumni and successful solo artist is a musician who prides herself on making music that celebrates her identity and roots.  She studied literature, and her music really does reflect the strength of her storytelling. In 2016, she released the much-anticipated album, Belede, which features the jazz trio of pianist Nduduzo Makhathini, bassist Herbie Tsoaeli and drummer Ayanda Sikade. Jazz lovers love it, and the Cape Town Jazz Fest couldn’t resist adding her to the line-up.

Dope Saint Jude 

It’s all in the name. She’s DOPE. Dope Saint Jude is a musician – but she is also a lot of other things, including an activist. She grew up rapping in the Cape Flats and was influenced by the classical music her father listened to. She recently dropped her first EP, Reimagine, which has been received well. She doesn’t just create music, she lives it, and hopes to inspire others through her activism. Onwards and upwards, Ms Saint Jude.

Judith Sephuma

Judith Sephuma is a rare and special talent. This veteran of the music game just keeps getting better as the years go by. Her music is as eclectic as she is. From Afro funk to jazz and gospel, there is nothing she can’t do. Many people may not know this but Judith was a finalist on Shell Road To Fame and SABC’s Jam Alley Talent Search. Her first album, A Cry, A Smile, A Dance, rocked our world. Sephuma is an artist, a mentor, a teacher and a welcome addition to the Cape Town Jazz Fest line-up.

Nomfundo Xaluva

As someone who is from Port Elizabeth, I admit my obvious bias towards this artist (who is also from PE). She is an Eastern Cape treasure and MetroFM Award-winning artist who will be showing off her talents at the festival. She’s a vocalist, pianist, composer and music educator who holds a Master’s in Jazz Studies –  she did a dissertation on Miriam Makeba, who she considers ‘a musician’s musician’. Xaluva’s life is enveloped in music and her love for it shows not only in her shows, but also in the work she does behind the scenes.