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Online Jazz Festival Because Jazz Matters

The Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and Arts & Culture at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) will join hands this month with the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music at UKZN and the South African Association for Jazz Education to present a one-day free to attend online mini-festival on Tuesday 27 April to mark Jazz Appreciation Month.

Jazz Appreciation Month (fondly known as “JAM”) is a global event held in April every year to recognize and celebrate the extraordinary heritage and history of jazz. JAM is intended to stimulate and encourage people of all ages to participate in jazz – to study the music, attend concerts, listen to jazz on radio and recordings, read books about jazz, and more.

“This first collaboration came about as a result of one idea and one Zoom meeting – cultural activists and administrators getting things done! And so, we are now able to present South African Jazz : Connecting the Tradition, a one-day online celebration of South African Jazz Education during Jazz Appreciation Month,” says Di Rossi speaking on behalf of the South African Association for Jazz Education (SAJE).

The free one-day online mini-festival will feature both performances and lectures as well as a public participation programme that begs the question, “Does Jazz Matter?”. This pertinent question would have been the theme of the 15th SAJE Jazz Conference in August 2021. The conference had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 national lockdowns. The conference has since been reconfigured into a series of smaller events over the course of the year featuring collaborations and digital events.

“The Centre for Creative Arts and the Arts & Culture at the University of Johannesburg both have a track record for strong engagement with the cultural sector. We believe that this inaugural partnership between the arts centres at our two universities is vital to support the South African Association for Jazz Education and the Centre for Jazz & Contemporary Music to consider how an arts economy that has been almost decimated by the pandemic can be rebuilt,” says Ismail Mahomed, the Director for the Centre for Creative Arts.

“Now, more than ever, it is important for role players in the arts and culture industry to collaborate and combine efforts and resources to maximise the impact of our projects on both the industry and the communities we serve. We are thrilled to be partnering on the presentation of this one-day educational jazz celebration and to be marking Jazz Appreciation Month in such a meaningful way,” says Head of Arts & Culture at the University Johannesburg, Pieter Jacobs.

The two university centres are at the forefront of creating platforms for scholarly engagement and showcasing good quality performances. The collaboration between the two centres and their jazz partners aims to raise the profile of South African Jazz through a series of webinars, performances and a public engagement initiative. The mini festival will feature webinars moderated by media personalities Brenda Sisane, Sam Mathe and Atiyyah Khan.

Brenda Sisane will present a showcase of performance by young South African jazz musicians and will moderate a discussion with them about the future of South African jazz. Atiyyah Khan will speak to jazz festival promoters and venue operators about the impact of Covid-19 and the recovery plans for the sector. Sam Mathe will moderate a discussion about the legacy of Todd Matshikiza.

The full programme which features musicians, jazz writers and academic scholars will be published online this week. The Festival will be freely live-streamed on the social media platforms of all the partners.

For media enquiries on behalf of the four partners, please contact Lakin Morgan Baatjies lakinmb@uj.ac.za

About Centre for Creative Art

The 25-year-old Centre for Creative Arts is located in the School of Arts in the College of Humanities at the University of Kwazulu-Natal. The Centre is renowned for presenting its four festivals, the Time of the Writer festival, JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Festival, Durban International Film Festival and the Poetry Africa Festival. The Centre for Creative Arts. The Centre’s leadership role in presenting festivals, seminars, workshops and public events provide platforms for celebrations of the arts as well as being a platform for provocation and social change. The Centre for the Creative Arts is a champion for democracy, human rights, social justice, creative education and access to the arts for all.

About UJ Arts & Culture

UJ Arts & Culture, a division of the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture (FADA), produces and presents world-class student and professional arts programmes aligned to the UJ vision of an international university of choice, anchored in Africa, dynamically shaping the future. A robust range of arts platforms are offered on all four UJ campuses for students, staff, alumni and the general public to experience and engage with emerging and established Pan-African and international artists drawn from the full spectrum of the arts.

In addition to UJ Arts & Culture, FADA (www.uj.ac.za/fada) offers programmes in eight creative disciplines, in Art, Design and Architecture, as well as playing home to the NRF SARChI Chair in South African Art & Visual Culture, and the Visual Identities in Art & Design Research Centre. The Faculty has a strong focus on sustainability and relevance, and engages actively with the dynamism, creativity and diversity of Johannesburg in imagining new approaches to art and design education.

About South African Association for Jazz Education

The South African Association for Jazz Education is a non-profit organisation which promotes jazz and jazz education in Southern Africa. The main aims of SAJE are to build the jazz arts community by advancing education and research, to promote skills development and performance, and to develop new audiences. To this end, SAJE presents annual conferences, festivals, masterclasses, workshops and international collaborations which promote and celebrate jazz and jazz education in Southern Africa.


About The Centre for Jazz and Popular Music

The Centre for Jazz and Popular Music is a facility within the School of the Performing Arts at UKZN that fosters the goals of social cohesion and promotes jazz and jazz education as a multicultural art form that is inclusive and diverse. CJPM was established in 1989 and is a performance venue with an established weekly concert program going back to its inception. It has hosted musicians from across the globe, and seeks to actively connect musicians, educators, students, industry professionals, alumni and media by organizing and facilitating performances, conferences, workshops, outreach events, exchange programs and partnerships. Jazz Appreciation Month is a highlight of the CJPM calendar and represents an intense period of activity for our jazz students and staff.


Apr 27 2021

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/Los_Angeles
  • Date: Apr 26 - 27 2021