Music and activism meet at Bertha House

Neo Muyanga will perform in the inaugural 2’s and 4’s series.

Bertha House in Mowbray will launch its live-music series, 2’s & 4’s, with musician Neo Muyanga, next month.

Bertha House director Ncedisa Nkonyeni says music moves past unjust social constructs to connect with truth. “Through 2s & 4s, we pay attention to this connection; we sense that it holds new ways of activism.”

Bertha House is a non-profit organisation, funded by the Bertha Foundation, that provides a neighbourhood resource for activists, storytellers, artists and educators to share their voices on social- justice issues.

Artists taking part in the 2s and 4s series will perform at the Bertha House Activist Cafe. A recording of the performance will be made available online, and the artist will then return to Bertha House to host a workshop on music’s role in social change.

A different artist will be featured each month.

According to his biography on Ibali, UCT’s digital collections, Muyanga is a composer, sound artist and librettist. His work traverses new opera, jazz improv and Zulu and Sesotho idiomatic song. He sang in township choirs before assimilating into the madrigal tradition while living in Italy in the 1990s. In 1996, he co-founded (with Masauko Chipembere) the duo, Blk Sonshine, and in 2008, co-founded (with Ntone Edjabe) the Pan African Space Station – a platform for cutting-edge Pan African music and sound art on the internet.

His records include: Blk Sonshine (1999), The Listening Room (2003), Fire, Famine Plague and Earthquake (2007), Good Life (2009), Dipalo (2011), Toro tse Sekete (2015) and Second-hand Reading (2016).

He is an alumnus of the Berliner Künstlerprogramm des DAAD (2016), and he was also composer-in-residence of the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival (2017), the National Arts Festival (2017) and the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival (2018). He tours widely as a solo performer, bandleader and choral conductor.

He was unavailable for comment.

“We are excited that Neo Muyanga is the first artist to launch this series. In implicit and explicit ways, his music has always spoken truth to power. 2s & 4s is the platform for him and any other musicians who fit this description,” says Ms Nkonyeni

2’s and 4’s starts on Friday August 5, at 6pm, at Bertha House, 67-69, Main Road, Mowbray. Tickets cost R100 and are available on WhatsApp at 081 502 3893 or by visiting Bertha House on Facebook and Instagram. Email Monishia Schoeman at for more information.