African music heavyweights to honour the continent in SA

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

May 25 is Africa Day, and as traditionally practised, a number of activities are lined up for the week leading to the day.

Starting at Newtown, Johannesburg, on May 23, a number of artists, including Nigerian Paris-based songstress Asa, who blew the minds of many last year when she was introduced for the first time to audiences in this country.

Her infectious, socially conscious lyrics, reminding one of the genius of the late Jamaican reggae music icon Bob Marley, have since found favour with local music fans.

Her songs are frequently played on Kaya FM, where they form part of the station's playlist.

She is a must-see at Mary Fitzgerald Square, where she will share the stage with top notch artists from South Africa and the rest of the continent.

At this free concert, other musicians of note to look forward to include Senegalese hip-hop pioneer Awadi, Benin's Gangbe Brass Band, South Africa's own Gang of Instrumentals, the Soweto Gospel Choir and The Parlotones, as well as some Lusophone flavour provided by Angolan Yuri da Cunha.

However, it is not only in Joburg where people are proud to be African. Durban has a good line-up of musicians who will take to the stage on May 25.

This one in Durban is aptly titled African Renaissance Festival.

A highlight of the African Renaissance Festival, which has a star-studded line-up of Thandiswa Mazwai, Oliver Mtukudzi and Ray Phiri with Stimela, will be at the ICC Arena on Monday at 6pm.

Then on May 26, as part of the African Renaissance Festival, there will be a youth conference. The Youth Pioneers Conference, an important and regular feature of the African Renaissance Festival, which focuses on issues relevant to young Africans, will also take place at the ICC, from 9am.

The Youth Pioneers Conference will address the role of the youth in promoting and realising the regeneration Africa - a vision based on the economic recovery of Africa as a whole.

Coordinated by the KwaZulu-Natal Youth Commission in association with the eThekwini municipality, this year's Youth Pioneers Conference will focus on youth economic empowerment against the backdrop of a global recession, and youth activism and participation in governance.

Udengs Eradiri, from Nigeria, will be among the key speakers.