Here’s what went down at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival

Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival

Fundiswa Nkwanyana shares her experience from the prestigious live jazz music event that showcased local and international musicians at the Sandton Convention Centre from last week Thursday until Saturday.


Every year, I attend the festival because I love seeing jazz artists performing, especially because they don’t do this on a regular basis. So, seeing them live in one venue is always exciting. I also enjoy learning more about the genre at the informative jazz workshops and free live performances that are held before the main event. I always walk away from the festival having discovered an artist or jazz band that I didn’t know of, and this year was no different. The local and international artists did not disappoint as they gave entertaining live performances across five stages.

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We were spoilt for choice because the festival had a star-studded line-up. This made things even harder for me to choose which artists to watch because the performances were all taking place in five different stages, at the same time! Some of my festival highlights were Don Laka, who played classic gospel-infused jazz that reminded me of my parents. I was highly impressed and blown away by The Jazz Unit – an all-women band with Zoe Modiga, Nomfundo Xaluva, Lafrae Sci and Lakecia Benjamin. I enjoyed their performance and watching how they confidently played their instruments while singing beautifully and interacting with the crowd. They delivered a world-class performance, and this made me proud because jazz is a male-dominated genre. The other performance that stood out for me was Sankofa with Salim Washington, Nduduzo Makhathini, Ayanda Sikade and many other band members. Their performance paid homage to revolutionary composers. I also danced the night away when a group called Stimela performed Afro jazz-infused upbeat music.

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I attended the Friday night show, and had so much fun that I left the festival in the early hours of the morning. I loved that the crowd was mature and respectful, and the event orderly with everything running smoothly. There were no long queues at the bar or in the bathrooms. The only challenge was moving quickly from one stage to the next because when the shows ended, the escalators and lifts were filled to capacity with attendees also doing the same. Apart from this challenge, the festival was memorable and I really enjoyed it.