There are some exciting artists making their way to the State Theatre this month. The intimate Rendezvous Theatre has become known as the go-to place for the best in cabarets, jazz recitals, small and one-man shows.
July sees it playing host to Tshwane Comedy Nights, Jazz and African Music Nights and the much-anticipated 67 Minutes of Laughter shows that will benefit the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital. The Tshwane Comedy Night on 25 July 2015 will see comedians Pravesh Mungaldave, Farhan Esat and Suhayl Essa take to the stage along with newcomer Isuru under the theme “Chilli comedy for cold winter”.
Jazz and African music lovers are in for a treat. The Jazz and African Music Nights on 10, 17 and 31 July 2015 will see Africa Mkhize and Women in Music; Sifiso Khanyile and Sunnyboy; and Abigail Kubeka and the Viwe Jazz Ensemble take to the stage.
“As we gear ourselves for Vavasati International Women’s Festival inAugust, we celebrate women in Jazz and African music through the legendary jazz and African music programme.” said Aubrey Sekhabi, Artistic Director and Acting Chief Executive Officer of the State Theatre. “This continuous music offering is meant to inspire our musician and avail performance platforms at all times. This is the biggest jazz and music platform in Gauteng.”
On 18 July, Tshwane Comedy Nights will be hosted as 67 Minutes Of Laughter as part of Mandela Day. The comedians will not only share a 67 minute set on stage, but most of them will also be hitting the streets for 67 minutes to physically sell tickets to the show. The show has one main object, which is to raise money for the Nelson Mandela Children`s Hospital.
At 7pm, hosted by Tlholo-G, The Rendezvous presents Roro Gantsho, Nonkululeko Mthethwa, Malai Jones, Skholo Mayisa, Phillip Dikotla, Pablo, Mashiloane, Chantel Barnaard, and Zicco Sithole. Tickets cost R67.
The 8.30pm show will be hosted by Kedibone Mulaudzi and will feature top South African comedians such as Jay Boogie, Judy Jake, PelePele, Mdu Ntuli, Noko Moswete, Tshepo Sethosa, Pastor A, King Flat, Thabang ER and Bra Thabiso. Tickets cost R167.
Jazz and African music nights
Award-winning music producer Afrika Mkhize takes to the stage with an enterprising group of jazz session musicians with Afrika Mkhize on grand piano, two horn players, and a double bass guitarist).
Mkhize has produced albums for Tlali Makhene, Themba Mkhize, Sibongile Khumalo, Kabelo from TKZ, Nokukhanya Dlamini and Miriam Makeba.
He has worked as a musical director and pianist for the late Miriam Makeba, and also contributed arrangements on her request for the Roma Philharmonic Orchestra in Italy. He has performed with numerous renowned artists, including Dorothy Masuka, Khaya Mahlangu, Zim Ngqawane, Musa Manzini, Vusi Khumalo, Sibongile Khumalo, Judith Sephuma, Oliver Mtukudzi, MXO, Marcus Wyatt, Zama Jobe, Papa Noel from France, Melanie Scholtz, Jimmy Dludlu, Allou April and TK. He has also recently recorded on Vusi Mahlasela and Nkanyezi Cele’s latest album.
In 2010 Mkhize arranged music for the Johannesburg Philharmonic Harmonic Orchestra featuring Abigail Kubeka, Dorothy Masuka, Mara Louw and Zenzi Lee, for a tribute to women in the arts at the State Theatre. He has also scored arrangements for the Jazz Meets Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Prince Lengoasa and Big Band Arrangements for his favourite pianist, the late Bheki Mseleku.
Women In Music NPC, an all-female band, was formed by Petunia Portia Sibiya in 2010, with the aim to inspire and encourage young and old women to play musical instruments. Portia Sibiya, famously known to play bass guitar in the legendary band Stimela, has also worked with the likes of Zim Ngqawana, Tshepo Tshola, Blondie Makhene, Selaelo Selota, Lira, Sibongile Khumalo, Musa Manzini and Thandiswa Mazwai. Portia Sibiya has always had the dream/vision to empower Women through teaching music. Women In Music have performed at numerous festivals, clubs, weddings, corporate events etc locally and abroad. WIM plays African Music, Jazz, Soul, World Music, Salsa, Samba, Reggae and a Fusion of Gospel. The Band will be featuring a well-known veteran of the industry Blondie Makhen and a poet and social commentary soul artist Khethi .
Born in Mbali township, Pietermaritzburg, Khanyile comes from a highly musical family and attributes his love of music to many moments spent singing with his mother in her bedroom.
A Durban University of Technology graduate, Khanyile majored in voice, composition, arranging and harmony. This singer-songwriter has an approach to songwriting that is African-centred and jazz-inspired, but remains soulful.
Hailing from eMbalentle in Secunda, Mpumalanga, the immensely talented Sunnyboy was somewhat of a late bloomer having started playing at the age of 18 while in matric, after having listened to Jimmy Dludlu’s music in 2001. Self-taught and inspired by an elite club of guitarists ranging from Jonathan Butler, Bheki , Khoza, Ronny Jordan, Lee Ritenour, Chuck Loeb, Pat Metheny and Paul Jackson JR, the naturally gifted Sunnyboy caught on quickly and nurtured his skill by strumming the instrument in church as well. Most music lovers would remember when Thandiswa Mazwai insisted on doing auditions in 2004 “to get new and fresh” players to work on her newly launched solo career. One Sunnyboy Mthimunye was one of the hopefuls and blew the judges away including Thandiswa with his playing style. Since then he has delved into various music styles ranging from funk to Motswako, hip-hop, Afro-pop, urban contemporary, house, traditional, reggae, and kwela music with some of the best in these genres.
South African legend, singer, dancer and actress Abigail Kubeko is still going strong, after more than half a century in the entertainment business. legendary is still going strong.
Abigail Kubeka was born in 1941 in Orlando East, Soweto’s first formal township. Her mother washed clothes for a living and her father worked in a warehouse. Kubeka attended a missionary boarding school in Kilnerton, near Pretoria.
Kubeka’s career started in 1957 when, at the age of 16, Miriam Makeba, having taken notice of her talent, invited her to join her Skylarks ensemble, which at that time also comprised the legendary Letta Mbulu and Mary Rabotaba. The Skylarks, together with other groups such as the Jazz Maniacs evolved and promoted the marabi and mbaqanga styles of music. Kubeka went on to understudy the legendary Makeba in the famous international jazz opera King Kong, which went on to tour Europe successfully. In the 1960s, Kubeka accompanied musical giants Abdullah Ibrahim (then Dollar Brand) and Kippie Moeketsi in cabaret performances in the nightclubs of Hillbrow.
A prolific and versatile entertainer, Kubeka went on to perform in Philip Tabane’s award-wining Jazzmakers, Tshooks Tschukudu’s Elite Swingers and Mackay Davashe’s Jazz Dazzlers. She performed to critical acclaim across venues in Africa, Europe and Asia, appearing alongside such stars as Eartha Kitt, Percy Sledge and Monk Montgomery.
Kubeka also developed a career as an acclaimed actress in film, television and on stage. She featured in the films Hijack and The Line. Her stage roles include Des and Dawn Lindberg’s King Afrika with Henry Cele and Best Little Whorehouse in Texas with Judy Page. In Xoli Norman’s Our Father, Ma’s got the Blues, Amen she played shebeen queen Joyce, a role which allowed her to give free voice to her love of the blues. In a performance in the documentary Sophiatown, together with Thandi Klaasen, Hugh Masekela, Dorothy Masuka, Jonas Gwangwa, Caiphus Semenya and Dolly Rathebe, Kubeka paid tribute to the indigenous jazz music of the 1950s.
She also recorded an updated version of Yini Madoda, a song first recorded by the Skylarks almost four decades earlier. The popular song captures the unbroken spirit of rural women left behind and often neglected by their men who are forced to seek work in the cities. Kubeka writes and arranges many of her own songs. She contributed the theme song for the sequel to the well-known documentary film What Happened to Mbuyisa?
Viwe Jazz Ensemble
Viwe Jazz Ensemble is a five piece band which consists of a trumpet, saxophone, piano, drums and bass The band was officially formed in 2012 after numerous years of playing together as group. The sound of the band is very diverse and is influenced by various styles namely Mainstream jazz, African traditional and Soul music. The music performed by the Viwe Jazz Ensemble are mostly original compositions composed by the leader/bassist Viwe Mkizwana and all the arrangements are done by the band consisting of Ntsikelelo Mcwabe (trumpet), Thapelo Khumisi (Piano and keyboard), Malusi Masia (saxophone) and a drummer.
All band members are Tshwane University of Technology postgraduates in the performing arts faculty majoring in Jazz and Popular music. The band has had a great privilege to perform in and around Gauteng, Viwe Jazz Ensemble performs at events such as weddings, parties and private gatherings. The quintet is currently working on recording its debut album.
67 Minutes Of Laughter:
Main show at 8.30pm:
Born Mr. Jordan T. Mazibuko is one funny guy, at least that’s what his growing base of fans and people that have seen him perform say. This Soweto born natural comic does smart, quirky, street-wise comedy and comedy that draws from every day’s experiences, there is no subject too taboo for his mention. His brand of comedy is an unapologetic, raw and tell the truth for what it is style of comedy. Jay Boogie’s fan base which is mostly from Soweto has followed his success from the early days of the Ozone Premium Comedy Nights in Soweto. He has done the Soweto Comedy Fest, The Aromat Loxion Comedy Series and others.
King Flat Thapelo:
Born in 1986, Thapelo was raised in Polokwane-Moletji Ramongwana2 Mmakgodu. He graduated at the Tshwane University of Technology in B. Tech Drama. By profession he is now a Stand-Up comedian, actor, theatre director and also a script conceptualiser. He started Stand-up comedy in late 2008, where both his partner (Enos Manthata) and he, decided to form a Stand-up comedy group called Comedy Society. Thapelo has done various performances around, Pretoria, Johannesburg, Eastrand, Mpumalanga and hometown Polokwane. He is even considered a regular in Meropa casino in Polokwane. He has worked at the Urban-Nites with the likes of Kedibone Mulaudzi at Monte Casino, Carnival city and Emperors Palace. Thapelo did a couple of open spots at Parkers (Monte Casino).
Thapelo has hosted numerous events such as the Closing ceremony: Mzansi Fela Festival at The South African State Theatre. He also has experience in hosting fashion shows and private functions.
Thapelo Mametja features in the Tripple O Comedy DVD alongside comedians Tall A$$ Mo and Thomas Gumede.
Judy-Jake has been a stand-up comic for nine years. She is the first professional black female comic in South Africa. She was a finalist in a stand-up competition that was broadcast on TV. She has performed all over South Africa and has gotten great reviews from audiences and the media. She performed in Zambia for their celebration of Independence.
She is currently presenting a show on SABC on titled Paws & Claws and recently did her one woman show at the SA State theatre in celebration of woman month
With 10 years of comedy experience as a comedian it comes as no surprise that Kedibone is in constant demand as both a headline act and MC across the national comedy circuit. And him being part of the same line up with Chris Rock when he was in the country cemented that. His mother calls him the funniest comedian on earth (well, why are we not surprised, she also thinks he is the best singer in the world), the corporate clients he has performed for call him a comedy genius that always tears the roof off with his witty and hilarious yet relevant punch lines. He has appeared on Comedy Central, Daily Sun Tv, Joyous Celebration and has performances in UK and Washington DC.
Mdu Ntuli is an undisputed rising star in the South African comedy scene. He won ‘Audience Choice Award’ at the Comics Choice Awards, as well as a SATMA Best Comedian Award – only two short years after graduating from the State Theatre Comedy Academy. This is a first in South African comedy history, and there is no doubt that Mdu is following in the footsteps of South African Comedy superstar; Trevor Noah. He has performed at the Soweto Comedy Festival, Tshwane Comedy Nights, Blacks Only, 99% Comedy Shows and others.
Noko is a female comic from Limpopo, she started doing comedy back in 2013 and has not lookedback. She has featured at 100% Sesotho Comedy, Vernacular Spectacular and is a regular at comedy nights in and around Pretoria and Joburg. She is original and talks about herself and her family a lot.
Tshepo is slowly but surely making a name for himself in the national comedy scene. He first caught the comedy bug in 2008 and started performing in clubs in and around Gauteng besides some of the heavy weights of the South African Comedy scene. He mostly talks about his personal experiences and capitalises on his ability to relate to all street smart audiences with his sharp “tsotsi taal” and body language. He has done the Ekurhuleni Comedy Fest and is a regular within comedy nights in Gauteng.
Pastor A was born in Mabopane to a Pedi woman, and his dad is a Tshwana-man native to Mabopane! This unique blend of two-world parenting not only provides Pastor A with his inspiration, it also shapes a very distinctive view of how he defines himself as an African. Being the eldest of two siblings, his responsibilities range from setting an example for his younger sister to mowing the lawn, and weekends he spends chilling with the boys. “Words are a powerful tool” he says, “I feel if you shape them right and speak what is true… that is what comedy is to me”. Pastor was a member of the Crazy Entertainers crew and has Vernacular Spectacular, Tshwane Comedy Fest under his belt.
The undisputed King of Setswana Comedy in Pretoria. Brra Thabiso hosts and headlines most comedy shows in and around Pretoria and Joburg. He is the resident host of Morula Sun Comedy Nights, Tshwane Comedy Nights and others.
Thabang ER was born in Polokwane, in the Limpopo province. Thabang Eugene Ramasenya was born in Limpopo. Thabang ER, as he is known by his fans, is a Comedian, MC, Entrepreneur and IT System Analyst. Thabang Eugene Ramasenya, presents a comedic style which highlights the everyday experiences of a young Mopedi man in South Africa.
Better known to his fans as Thabang ER, he presents his comedy through Sepedi and English, appealing to audiences across the ethnic spectrum.
The Moletjie ga-Ramakgaphola (Polokwane) born comedian started his on-stage career in 2012.Politics, pop-culture, South African cultures – these are but a few of the subjects Thabang ER brings to light through his on stage anecdotes.
The comedian and events’-host is acquiring an expanding following in Polokwane and GP.
True to say,Thabang ER has enthralled audiences through his on-stage humour and is becoming a household brand.
First show at 7pm:
Irrefutably one of the hardest working graduates from the South African Comedy Academy class of 2012, Roro Gantsho has an evident passion for comedy as soon as he steps on stage. His energetic performance, wit and humorous impersonations of his mother, and stories from his day to day interactions with life’s real comedians – the public – wins audiences over every time. Native to the Eastern Cape, Roro draws inspiration for his comedy set from personal daily observations. Be it something as silly as a car sounding past or a hard hitting current issue, making his delivery quite unique. Roro has been a constant feature around most of Gauteng’s comedy venues and his early professional success has seen him hosting a few comedy events, including his mentor Kedibone Mulaudzi’s One Man Show Special, shot for DVD release.
She is a fresh young creative who has been working as an actress, scriptwriter and standup comedian or almost for 3 years now since graduating from the Market theatre school of drama in 2010. He standup comedy material has been classified as a fresh new breed of literature that deals with the funny fables of her day to day life and growing up as a chubby child. She is an up and coming creative that’s is breaking new ground and slowly claiming her place in the South African comedy industry. She is a graduate of the SA Comedy Academy and has done major festivals like the Soweto Comedy Festival and the Savanna’s NewsComer Showcase.
Florist by day, comic by night– Malai is a Johannesburg based comedian whose career took off in 2013, after he joined the South African Comedy Academy. His vernacular style comedy is based on his experiences living in hostels in and around Johannesburg, his upbringing in a village and the often hilarious life he enjoys selling flowers and roses to people in love and people in morning. Such is Malai’s rollercoaster ride life.
Skholo started his professional comedy career soon after his successful completion at the South African Comedy Academy in 2012. His passion for comedy surpassed what he thought was his dream job at the time, so he walked away from being a miner to pursue stand-up full time. One year in, and Skhulu can already note big comedy stages like the Soweto Comedy Festival, Vaal tour, the Tshwane Comedy Nights as well as Just Nje Comedy nights as some of his career launchers. One of his dreams is to build a comedy empire in the Vaal, and he is doing exactly that by hosting the Vaal Comedy Nights. He is currently working on his next big career move – The Vaal Comedy Festival, so watch the space.
Philip was first bitten by the comedy bug when he took part in the South African Comedy Academy workshops held at the Soweto Theatre in June 2012. In his comedy career so far, he has performed at Morula Sun’s Comedy Thursdays, the Tshwane Comedy Nights and the Soweto Comedy Festival. He also featured on “LOL”, a comedy variety show on DSTV’s “Mzansi Magic”. Philip is a professionally trained actor, and lists appearances at the Edinburgh- and Grahamstown National Arts Festivals as highlights in his continuing career.
This East Rand born comic started doing stand-up professionally soon after he joined – and won – the SA State theatre comedy academy award in 2013. He spent a lot of time perfecting his jokes, and in 2015 he was crowned number 1 in the YFM Comedy Battle. The only comedian in the SA and probably the world to have produced and performed his first ever one man show entitled “Comedy Begins at Home” – a free comedy show he hosted at his mother’s house – dedicated to comedy lovers in his community who don’t have cars to get to night time comedy shows. The show was such a success and was covered by Sowetan, one of the biggest daily newspapers.
Chantel has the ability to tickle funny bones across cultural divides, with material that is daringly risqué and unapologetic. She is probably one of a few if not the only one to succeed in this, and audiences love her for it. As a varsity lecturer, Chantel’s humoristic nature also makes her a big hit with her students. She has performed at Tshwane Comedy Nights-, Vaal Comedy Nights and Soweto Comedy Festival, The Box Comedy Night as well as Morula Sun Comedy Nights.
Zicco’s comedy style can be defined as observational with a smattering of risqué, making him a darling with his comedy audience. Two years after graduating from the South African Comedy Academy, Zicco won the YFM Comedy Battle in February 2015. He currently runs the Tavern Comedy Nights in Maponya Mall in Soweto and has appeared at the Soweto Comedy Festival.
25 July: Theme: Chilli Comedy in Cold Winter
It could be a said thing that Pravesh Mungaldave has been increasing revenue for tailors every where he performs as he has been known for leaving his audiences in stitches. His family attests to his natural ability to entertain as his comic spark has been evident from an early age. He has a sharp and witty sense of humour that can include a range of experiences that we all can relate to, from childhood to local and international current affairs. Pravesh Mungaldave has been a frequent feature at comedy clubs throughout Johannesburg, from Ozone in Soweto to Parkers Comedy at Monte Casino. His successes have seen him progress into a sought after MC and has done some work for the Nedbank Corporate Awards, Sony Navigation Launch, Nedbank Women’s Day Breakfast, Lilly Pharmaceuticals Product Launch, and Nedbank’s Retail Marketing Awards, amongst others.
Some of Pravesh Mungaldave’s archievements include the Gauteng Comedy Speech Contest where he won the competition as the only novice entrant, and has also been appointed as Vice President of Toastmasters International for Area H.
Farhan, 29, is a Business Analyst based in Johannesburg. He obtained a Business Science honours degree from the University of Cape Town and has had a successful career in the corporate sector for seven years. A newcomer on the South African comedy scene, he’s already making a name for himself, having performed alongside some of South Africa’s biggest comedians.
Buy why leave a promising corporate career for comedy? “Quite simply, following my passion. Over time, I felt the need to do something that would to challenge me and provide me with an outlet to express my creativity. That, plus I’m single and debt-free!” says Farhan.
He has always loved comedy and at one point he was no longer content with just being an audience. With a push from a friend Jason Goliath, he gathered the courage in December of 2012 to get on stage.
“What has made me know that I have made the right decision is seeing people arriving at shows with indifference or even scowls on their faces but leaving with smiles all around,” he says.
Comedy has been used over time and across generations as a societal mirror to enable people to laugh at themselves and unpack the seemingly complex socio-political issues that bewilder us.
Farhan believes he has a unique story to tell and he has found his audiences to be receptive of the material he derives from his identity, personal experiences and observations.
Suhayl Essa is a 22 year old medical student with a funny bone. He began stand-up comedy a year ago, performing at club gigs across Gauteng.
Suhayl has made his mark on stages like the Space Theatre, The Box (Pop Art Theatre) with Goliath and Goliath, Acoustic Café, Comedy at Mishmash, Hip Hop Comedy nights at Van der Bijl park and Parkers Comedy Club. Since then, he has performed across South Africa on stages in both Durban and Cape Town.
Suhayl was a semifinalist in the Parkers comedy contest “Comi-Kaze” which placed him in the “2015 Comedy Central Live presents” competition. He hosted the first Charity Comedy event at Wits Medical School. Suhayl opened for Riaad Moosa’s one man show “Doctor’s Orders” in Lenasia, Gauteng.
As a newcomer, he finds that comedy is a creative outlet to express himself and entertain people at the same time. In spite of his education, Suhayl Essa believes that laughter is the best medicine and speaking in third person is acceptable when creating a biography about oneself.