Discipline of Music

A Tribute to Mama Africa

The Centre for Jazz and Popular Music proudly presents Tribute to Mama Africa, Wednesday 17 May 2023, at 17:30.

The music of Miriam Makeba influenced vocalist Thulile Zama and her band members to such an extent that they found it fitting to organise a tribute concert in her honour. Tribute to Mama Africa returns to the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music this Wednesday, 17 May 2023. The show is a compilation of Sophiatown’s finest music with songs made famous by Miriam Makeba. Selected by Thulile Zama, the Creative Director, the show includes the distinctive sound we all know, comprising of the most exciting and favourite songs, but also emotional songs, all contributing to a vital sketch of our rich musical heritage. Tribute to Mama Africa has been in theatres and live music venues across KZN and South Africa with shows at The State Theatre in Pretoria, Hilton Arts Festival, POP Art in Johannesburg, Rhumbelow Theatre in Durban, Pietermaritzburg and Kloof and Alliance Française in Durban. The band recently returned from Headlining the No Franco#5 festival in Maputo, Mozambique. The media has picked on this special tribute with articles in The Sunday Tribune, The Mercury, News24 and an interview on SABC Morning Live, SA FM and Metro FM, amongst others.

Thulile Zama, distinguished by her dazzling voice, is the lead vocalist of the successful all-female contemporary jazz band Heels Over Head (Best Contemporary Jazz nominees SAMA – 2011) and (Yamaha Young Artist winners 2010). Thulile’s versatility as a vocalist is well-known and well-loved in the jazz circuit in Durban. Her talents have taken her to Hamburg, Berlin, Germany and New Orleans, USA. Thulile is the Concert Organiser at the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music at UKZN.

On the piano is David Smith, who was a member of a very successful Jazz/Hip Hop band, Big Idea, that made waves throughout the country. Together, Smith and Zama form the musical duo N’den and are set to release their debut album in June 2023. They have been founding members of the Tributes to Mama Africa since 2017. Joining them on this set are Blessing Twala on bass and S’khulile Mthembu on drums.

Blessing Twala is an electric/double bass player from Emalahleni in Mpumalanga Province. He has worked with various artists like Karabo Mogane (SA Idols), Bra Bernice Boikanyo, Bra Khaya Mahlangu, Bra Mfana Mlambo, Mandisi Dyantyis, Kello K, Kgethi Nkotsi, and Samkelo Njinji to name a few. He currently lives in Durban, studying music at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Completing the line-up is S’khulile Mthembu, who hails from the dusty streets of Enseleni Township in Richards Bay.  He studied music at the University of KwaZulu and has shared the stage with big names in the music industry, such as Ntokozo Mbambo and Nqubeko Mbatha, S’fiso Ncwane and Thinah Zungu, who are South African Gospel sensations. He has also played with the American jazz tenor saxophonist virtuoso Prof Salim Washington and South African jazz saxophonist Khaya Mahlangu.

Gig Listing

Tribute to Mama Africa

UKZN, Centre for Jazz and Popular Music

University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, Howard College Campus, Dennis Shepstone Building, level 2

On Wednesday, 17 May 2023

Doors open: 17:00

Show starts: 17:30

Booking is essential:zamat1@ukzn.ac.za

Tickets: R100, pensioner tickets are R70, and student tickets are R40.


May 17 2023

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: May 17 2023