Recently, members of the jazz fraternity – including musicians, writers and broadcasters – were celebrated at the glitzy, yet reserved, Standard Bank Joy of Jazz honours event held in the Montecasino Ballroom.
Some of the artistes who performed at the annual jazz event, now in its 20th year, received recognition for their long-standing contribution to and support of the arts.
Honourees included Hugh Masekela, who was absent due to recent eye surgery, Abdullah Ibrahim, Caiphus Semenya, Letta Mbulu, Jonas Gwangwa, Sipho Mabuse and Sibongile Khumalo, who had just celebrated her 60th birthday.
For radio, special mention went to Ike Phaahla, Shado Twala, Nothemba Madumo, KG Moeketsi and Brenda Sisane. The journalistic award went to jazz writers Gwen Ansell and Peter Feldman.
While congratulating his peers, Peter Tladi of T-Musicman, the promoter of Standard Bank Joy of Jazz, said: “It is an absolute privilege that Joy of Jazz tips its hat to these phenomenal men and women who have kept the lifeblood of jazz pumping in our country, especially as we celebrate two decades of this amazing festival.
“The stature of our honourees is unquestionable.
“They are national assets and treasures that we cherish. We believe that honouring them while they are still alive will encourage them to give more of themselves for the greater good of this beautiful art we call jazz.”
In his speech, Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba said that if he got to relive his life, he’d come back as a musician. Mashaba, who has a piano at home (not sure about his playing skills), promised to continue to support the arts.
“Hugh Masekela, Caiphus Semenya – during the dark days, you gave us hope. On a Saturday, with the little money that we made on a Friday from gambling, we’d go to stokvels and we would listen to and enjoy your music,” said Mashaba.
Then he added a rather puzzling: “If projects like this die, I can assure you it’s going to be the beginning of our death.
I’m the last person in this world that is going to commit suicide, so therefore we’re going to make sure that for as long as I am in my capacity, projects like this are supported.”
Standard Bank Joy of Jazz took place at the Sandton Convention Centre this weekend