The Bowl was full of culture, music and sun

Gugu Sibiya

Gugu Sibiya

It has been years since I've been to the Mofolo Cultural Bowl in Soweto, so it was with great excitement that I accepted an invitation to the Soweto Arts Festival.

On my arrival, I was struck by the amiable vibe that prevailed, with friends, families and lovers scattered all over the place and having a great time.

Impande, backed by an enthusiastic Nigerian band, mesmerised the crowd with their eloquent slam poetry. It's the romanticising of it and the way it was delivered that got the message out there. They were fantastic.

We were soon engulfed in Arno Carstens' scorching inferno as he dished out one hit after another. If he came there an unknown, he left there a very well-known, energetic mlungu. Energetic yes, but rhythm? Hmmm. Still, Arno rocks!

Simphiwe Dana must have been surprised that she is that loved. When she got on stage people came forward to shower her with their love. Obviously there were a number of unknown songs from the new album, The One Love Movement On Bantu Biko Street.

However when she launched into Zandisile, the park erupted. The lady has class and dignity and has come a long way as an entertainer.

However, Simphiwe, you need to spice up your repertoire with get-up-and-dance songs otherwise we will relegate you to indoor performances complete with bar stools.

All those promoters who have ignored Nothembi Mkhwebane should hang their heads in shame. The Ndebele music queen had the audience eating out of the palms of her dainty hands the moment she got on stage.

She effortlessly executed her choreography with her nimble, youthful backing singers. She is a world-class entertainer who is doing AmaNdebele proud.

As usual, the police, who thrive on spoiling parties, put a spanner in the works by refusing to let MaHotella Queens perform. Thank God we had a peaceful crowd otherwise sparks would have flown.

It turned out to be a great, relaxed Saturday afternoon of great music.