The Stellenbosch University Jazz Band held a Legacy Celebration Concert on 11 May to celebrate two heroic South African icons – Nelson Mandela and Hugh Masekela – as part of the institution’s centennial celebrations. The Fiesta Award winning SU Jazz Band, one of the ensembles of the Music Department’s Certificate Programme, took centre stage under the direction of Felicia Lesch with esteemed vocal soloists Sima Mashazi, Babalwa Mentjies and Mynhardt Kruger.
The evening was specifically dedicated to launching the new Social Impact initiative of the Music Department under it’s new umbrella name Roots@SU. Roots@SU encompasses a network of programmes and projects that the Music Department is involved with through the Certificate Programmes, Rural Engagement Programme, Service Learning Programme, Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival, Endler Concert Series and many off-site partnership programmes. Special guests for the concert included SU Music Department community partners from areas such as Mitchell’s Plain, Athlone, Kuilsriver, Khayelitsha, Ceres, Mamre and Cloetesville. One of the highlights of the evening was when some of the learners from these community projects joined the SU Jazz Band on stage to perform Abdullah Ibrahim’s Nelson Mandela. Impressively, the kids stood up to take solos, much to the delight of the audience.
The evening also served as the launch event of the partnership between Stellenbosch University Music Department and the e’Bosch Heritage Project. Representatives from e’Bosch attended from the communities of Cloetesville, Idas Valley, Jamestown, Khayamandi, Klapmuts, Pniel, Kylemore, Raithby, Vlottenburg and Stellenbosch Central as well as music teachers and school principals from these communities.
Many of the songs performed were either composed by Masekela, such as Grazin in the grass and Thuma Mina (Send me) or powerful struggle songs such as Mayibuye. As the evening came to an end, the audience collectively danced to the well-known struggle song, Meadowlands as a tribute to Masekela, Mandela and all who wish to play a part in building a society of our dreams.