Share this article

Jozi unites Africa in song and dance at Joburg Theatre


After weeks of tension caused by xenophobic attacks in Durban and Johannesburg recently, Africans from all over the continent will next week come together at the Johannesburg Theatre in Braamfontein to celebrate Africa Day.

Over two days – May 22 and 23 – some of the continent’s top musicians will lead celebrations of Africa’s achievements through song and dance at the theatre.

Headlined by award-winning local artists Ringo Madlingozi and Lira, the two shows will also pay special tribute to the great Nigerian Afrobeat maestro, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Africa Day is officially celebrated annually on May 25 to commemorate the founding in 1963 of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), the forerunner to the African Union (AU).

The day serves to acknowledge the progress the continent has made in the development of its people and reflects on the challenges its member states are confronted with on the global stage. The vision of the AU is that of “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena”.

Also on the lineup in the Joburg Theatre shows are Lura of Cape Verde, Nigeria’s Femi Koya and Abena Koomson, the Ghanaian-born artist now based in New York, who will show the rest of the world what unity can do to affirm the continent’s vision to create a better life for all. This special weekend of African music will showcase the richness of the continent’s rhythms, dance and song, according to Collette Dawson, the theatre’s spokesperson.

“It is a diverse and exciting programme that salutes Africa’s musical heritage,” she says.

The Fela tribute will feature multi-talented Nigerian saxophonist Femi Koya and his eight-piece South African band, with Koomson, a member of the Tony award-winning Fela! Broadway show, appearing as a special guest.

Ringo is one of the biggest artists on the outdoor festival circuit, while Lira continues to make waves both on the local and international stages, including Europe and the United States.  Lura, a Portuguese-speaking artist, stands at the crossroads of the Portuguese and Cabo Verdean culture.”

The Africa Day weekend celebrations will also host workshops at the theatre as well as in schools.

The shows start at 8pm on both days. Ticket prices range from R100 to R200 and are on sale on or the theatre’s ticketing line on 0861 670 670. There are discount rates for groups of 10 or more. Call (011) 877 6853/6815.