Musical milestones for women singers

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

This year's Women in Arts Festival, which kicks off this week at the Dance Factory in Newtown, pays tribute to South African women musicians who have enriched the country with their classics.

And appropriately, the proceeds will go towards paying the medical bills of ailing musical icon Busi Mhlongo.

Produced by entertainment all-rounder Shado Twala, the festival boasts a unique collaboration coined Milestones.

This musical spectacular features songs by Miriam Makeba, Margaret Singana, Brenda Fassie, Letta Mbulu, Dolly Rathebe, Busi Mhlongo and others. It is an evocative exploration of South African female singers and composers that spans music from the 1960s.

The show is arranged and conducted by Themba Mkhize and backed by an all- star band boasting South Africa's finest, including Tlale Makhene, Nokukhanya, Eric Paliani, Johan Mthethwa, Percy Mbonani and many more.

Twala said: "Fifty one years ago, our history tells us, millions of heroic South African women engaged in the liberation struggle and marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to oppose the pass laws.

"The month of August is a time for reflection and celebration throughout the country as we gather to pay tribute to these brave women freedom fighters."

It is in this context that the Transnet Foundation has commissioned a celebration of events that will honour a significant part of this act of defiance by those who chose the vehicle of the arts to express themselves. The event is an opportunity for the younger generations, who did not have to carry the burden of our struggle, to acknowledge the 1956 message and ensure that we achieve the goal of the emancipation of women in our country from gender and class oppression.

The shows will take place from August 9 to August 11 at 7.30pm.