Artist to raise awareness of African music

Dr Thokozani Mhlambi

KwaZulu-Natal composer and cellist Dr Thokozani Mhlambi, 34, will be reviving African compositions, during this month of heritage celebration, with a one-night-only exhibition concert at UCT College of Music, Rondebosch, tomorrow Friday September 27.

It’s called The Early African Intellectuals as Composers of Music Project.

“This project tries to bring to attention how African women and men, who were variously involved in leadership and intellectual fields, also composed songs,” he said.

Dr Mhlambi worked closely with the Luthuli Museum and the Killie Campbell Africana Library of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) on the project, and he hosted a panel discussion in Woodstock at the beginning of the month to raise awareness about ancient music composition and intellectual excellence of African music.

Dr Mhlambi says Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika, composed by Enoch Sontonga, was sung at the 1912 meeting where the South African Native National Congress, which later became known as the ANC, was formed.

“Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika later became the national anthem of South Africa, just to show you the scale of the impact Sontonga’s music had in shaping the cultural movement in Africa.”

Dr Mhlambi, who has a PhD in music from UCT, will be joined on stage by UKZN Opera School students Bulelwa Msane and Nomonde Duma as well as UCT music student Lonwabo Mafani on jazz piano.

Dr Mhlambi says people can expect remakes of old compositions by Tiyo Soga and songs from Nokutela Dube, who performed and trained in Harlem, in America, in the 1890s.

Dr Mhlambi will also play new compositions on his baroque cello, along with the cast.

The exhibition concert will start at 7pm. Tickets are R100, or R60 for pensioners and students.

They can be bought through Webtickets.