Thank you for the music, MaMngoma

31 January 2021 - 00:00 By Sam Mathe

When Sibongile Khumalo performed at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival in 2016, I was pleasantly surprised when she mentioned my name. And I had to wonder what the rest of the audience inside the packed auditorium made of this unexpected special mention. It happened just before she played Mountain Shade, from her debut album Ancient Evenings. Then it dawned on me that before her show I had jokingly remarked that if her set didn’t include songs from this ground-breaking album it wouldn’t be worth attending.

Singling me out without explaining herself was certainly mysterious for that large crowd, but for me it was a clear signal that she was about to honour my wish. And how honoured did I feel on that warm spring evening at the Sandton Convention Centre! I have attended my fair share of Sibongile Khumalo concerts in the past 25 years, but the one on Saturday September 17 2016 will remain etched in my memory as a special event. She had reciprocated my appreciation for her incredible artistry in a touching, personal and special way. There were great artists of global renown in the stellar line-up, including childhood favourites Houston Person and Jonathan Butler. I felt privileged enjoying their amazing performances...

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