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Cape Town, South Africa, plays host this weekend to the 13th annual Cape Town Jazz Festival. Known as Africa’s Grandest Gathering, this festival kicks off today, Friday 30 March till Saturday 31 March at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC).

An incredible selection of artists from all music genres hit the Motherland this week in preparation for this event, including Miss Lauryn Hill, Pharoahe Monch and Jean Grae. Expecting to attract anything more than 34,000 lovers of music, if their past records are anything to go by; fans are thrilled, and it’s no surprised that it didn’t take too long for the tickets to sell out.


The big name trumping this year’s festival is Lauryn Hill. A last minute replacement to Jill Scott whose film schedule clashed with this music extravaganza; the timing couldn’t be more fitting as she’s rumoured to be making a comeback. Having been in Africa before, giving her time to community projects in the Motherland, Hill raised money and sent food and clothes to the needy in an attempt to make a tangible change. Her love for music touched the world when her debut album The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill won her five Grammy Awards and her stint as the lone female member of The Fugees made her part of the second biggest selling R&B act worldwide since Michael Jackson. 

Cape Town-born Jean Grae returns home for the first time since her departure many years ago, to be a part of this year’s spectacular line-up. The daughter of famous pianist Abdullah Ibrahim has earned her keeps on the New York underground scene over the years, having featured guest appearances with Styles P, Talib Kweli and another New Yorker Pharoahe Monch.

Monch, best known for his high lyrical calibre and skilful delivery, too makes his way on-stage tonight. A veteran on the underground Hip Hop scene, he has a twisted way of painting his heart and soul through intricate word-play, with his famous “Simon Says” is still worthy of being bumped at ignorant levels since its release in 1999.

South African Hip Hop names on this line-up of more than 40 artists include Hip Hop Pantsula, also known as HHP. Having earned himself two South African Music Awards as best male solo artist and best rap album, the sound of South African Hip Hop doesn’t get any better than this. 

An underground Hip Hop crew called Ill Skillz will also take to the stage with their raw electric style of rap. Having shared a stage with Slum Village and Travis Mc Coy in the past, this trio proves that the best Hip Hop can’t be found in clubs, and remind you why you fell in love with this genre in the first place. Both HHP and Ill Skillz spit in vernacular (The language or dialect spoken by the ordinary people in a particular country or region); proving that Hip Hop can be felt in everything from the melodic instrumentals to the drum and bass that resonates the sound of a heart that is alive.

And Hip Hop is alive this weekend at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.


Myrna Burgess (@MsTaboo)