• Legendary Sibongile Khumalo demands young and educated musicians

    JOHANNESBURG – Legendary South African musician Sibongile Khumalo will take to the stage this weekend at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz where she will lead the Standard Bank Young Artist All Star Jazz Band.

    With the event having got underway at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on Thursday 26 September until Saturday, Khumalo will play in a band featuring the likes of Gloria Bosman, Afrika Mkhize and Shane Cooper among others.

    As she recently celebrated her 62nd birthday this week, the University of Zululand music graduate sought guidance from her father Khabi Mngoma, a professor of music – stated that young artists should write based on truth such as the scourge of violence against women and children.

    “If making music should be about a fight for or against something, then I see them being limited in what they do,” Khumalo told Music in Africa.

    “Music is about the truth that a musician perceives, feels and relates to as their truth, whether it is violence against women, children, and society as a whole, whether it is about love, spirituality. It is the truth in what you express and how you express it that is paramount.”

    The experienced and most celebrated Soweto-born artist has also urged young musicians to remain true to themselves whilst focusing on empowering themselves.

    Khumalo holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in music from the University of Zululand and BA Honors from University of the Witwatersrand.

    My response to such a question is always defined by the need for education, whether it is formal or informal education,” she continued.

    “While exposing yourself and opening yourself up to what is out there, it is also important to remain true to yourself, so that even when you allow yourself to be influenced by others, you retain an identity that clearly defines you.”

    Moreover, Khumalo believes it’s imperative for role players such as the South African government to recognize the needs of women.

    I believe it’s important for role players such as the government, promoters, venue owners, and others, to recognise that the needs of women may not be the same as those of men,” she urged.

    “This means that there must be an awareness of and sensitivity to those needs or demands. Also, the language used where women are concerned must be tempered with a great deal of emotional sensitivity.

    “We need to get past the expectation that women must be happy with being seen as ‘the girls’, thus rendering as helpless and incapable front faces.”

    Meanwhile, Khumalo also revealed that she will perform compositions from Bosman and some of her songs such as Mayihlome, Thula Mama, Plea from Africa and Isoka Lami.

    “We will be playing compositions from our original repertoires, from Gloria Bosman and myself,” continued the legend.

    “This is one of those moments when we’re finding that the Internet is a great tool. It has been very convenient for communication and for sharing each other’s music,” concluded Khumalo.

    On the other hand, the 22nd edition of the festival features a never-to-be-repeated all-star band performance to celebrate 35 Years of the Standard Bank Young Artist (SBYA) Awards.

    The performance will feature previous award winners like Norwegian based and South African born saxophonist, Shannon Mowday, who will join the elder stateswoman of South African jazz, Khumalo, inimitable composer-pianist, Nduduzo Makhathini, singular bassist, Concord Nkabinde, and others like Gloria Bosman, Bokani Dyer, and Mark Fransman to name a few.

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