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Mothers have a ball at the Joburg Zoo


Kaya FM’s first-ever Mother’s Day Concert at the Johannesburg Zoo yesterday – featuring award-winning Lira and other highly talented musicians – was a runaway success, with more than 15 000 people from all corners of the city attending.

Although the official start of the show was 10am, concert-goers started streaming into the venue from as early as 8.30am to secure prime position near the stage. One of those who woke up early was six-year-old Omphile Monareng of Dunvegan in Edenvale.

Accompanied by her mom, Omphile was also the star of her own show as she commanded the “dance floor” around the semi-circle that had been formed around her. Her dance moves could easily have put well-known Jozi choreographer Somizi Mhlongo to shame.

“When we heard that Lira was going to perform, we made sure that Omphile attended. She knows all Lira’s songs. Omphile started mimicking Lira’s songs when she was only two years old. She’s a musically gifted kid,” said proud her mom as her granny and aunts looked on. The Lesotho-born Malehloka Hlalele, better known to music fans as Maleh, was the first to take to the stage.

The crowd instantly warmed up to her soulful rendition of Eduze Kwam’ and Step Child and everyone was on their feet, swaying to the Afro beat. Second on the stage was the Chamber Orchestra of Johannesburg, conducted by Kulwano Masote.

With an extensive repertoire ranging from folk songs harking back to the Swinging 1960s to electro-beat sound of the Sizzling 1970s and the Afro jazz-fusion tunes of the Amazing 1980s, the orchestra had fans tapping their feet and clicking their fingers.

Mothers also temporarily forgot about their arthritic joints as they performed the bump jive. By the time the Daveyton-born Lerato Molapo, otherwise known as Lira, came on stage and performed her opening number Feeling Good, there was no holding back the screaming mothers and their hoarse children. Camp chairs were discarded as she took command of the stage and thanked mothers for giving the world life and love.

“It’s a pity Lira and Maleh did not collaborate. I had hoped they would share a song or two,” said Puleng Masite of Palm Springs in the Vaal.

“But the show was worth the drive.”

Kaya FM’s Managing Director, Greg Maloka, thanked concert-goers and the sponsors –the City of Joburg and Spar supermarket – for helping the station make history by staging its inaugural Mothers’ Day concert at the zoo.

“I am grateful that people came from all corners of Joburg to celebrate our mothers and strengthen family ties, which is what Kaya FM is all about,” Maloka said.

Grade 11 learner Lesego Mohlabe, who was accompanied by her mom Mpho all the way from Dobsonville, Soweto, said the family had had a ball

“We really had an awesome time. The organisers should just make sure that there are demarcated footpaths for concert-goers. People had trouble moving around, stepping on people’s picnic baskets. But on the whole, it was a blast,” said Lesego.

Children played on the swings, gawked at the animals and generally had as much fun as their mothers. They complained loudly when told it was time to pack up and leave. City Parks & Zoo’s Jenny Moodley thanked concertgoers for their good behaviour.

“We had JMPD officers controlling traffic outside. Inside, we had City Parks & Zoo officials ensuring that things ran smoothly. I’m glad people had a good time and no major incidents were reported,” she said.