Student Cities and All That Jazz

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Pic: By Tom Beetz

Whilst my heart will always be with the area of Hatfield in Pretoria as one of the greatest place to live, learn and play, I think the student city of Cape Town has an alluring factor for great cultural lifestyle and adventure for st

Pic: Annenberg Center Live:
The Johnny Clegg

udents living and learning there! After all it is at this seductive city that I spend the formative years of my life from kindergarten in 1997 at Campus Kids to Grade 8 in 2010 at Rhenish Girls High in Stellenbosch.

Imagine studying at the University of Cape Town, an institution that is literally built on the foot of Table Mountain, where you can just go hiking into this majestic World Heritage site and set your eyes on the great views of the belly of the Mother City, the Harbour, the Pacific Ocean and the famous Robben Island fortress?

Yes, Rhodes might have fallen, but it was him with a certain Lord Milner who donated this prestine piece of land for the building of this iconic institution which is ranked number one in the African continent.

Pic: LyricWiki – Wikia
George Benson

Or imagine studying at the picturesque Stellenbosch University amidst the long and winding vineyards against the backdrop of the Hottentots Mountain Range that form part of the Sir Lowry`s Pass as you drive into Somerset West and turn into the Stellenbosch university town where I studied for a year at Rhenish Girls High School.

Or to study inland at the twin universities of the Western Cape and Cape Peninsula University of Technology (where I spend the early years with my parents) with their own attractions amidst the Cape Flats and a drive away from the Cape Town International Airport. Both institutions looking into the Tygerberg Mountain Range on the N1 as you drive towards the City? Or take an off-ramp into the rich suburb of Plattekloof towards Table View and Bloubergstrant on the western corridor of Cape Town.

It was the Great Hall of the University of the Western Cape that was the nerve centre of preparations and great excitement on the night before the release of Nelson Mandela that my father always reminisces about. Both CPUT (then Peninsula Technikon) and UWC were the epicentre of the anti-Apartheid movement led by, amongst others, Archbishop Tutu and the late Jakes Gerwel who went on to become the first secretary of state to the late Nelson Mandela in 1994.

Then it was 18 years ago in 1999 that the Cape Town International Jazz Festival was born as an inter-governmental exchange program between the South African government and the Netherlands government. Initially called the Cape Town North Sea Jazz Festival it was hosted at the Good Hope Centre in the Cape Town CBD until it moved to its new venue at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

I still remember how my Dad would carry me on his shoulders as a three year old, listening to jazzy tunes of the late iconic Brenda Fassie and vintage Miriam Makeba as we moved from one of the three (or was it four?) stages at the Good Hope Centre. And then the closing act of Bra High Masekela and the Village Pope (Tshepo Tshola) as a closing act on the main stage.

The North Sea Jazz Festival was created by Dutch Jazz promoter Paul Acket, who in 1976, started what would become the most prestigious Jazz festival in the world. From an initial audience of about 9000, the festival has grown into an international spectacle, with 16 stages presenting 220 acts over a period of three days and over 70,000 people in attendance at the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Unlike its Dutch counterpart, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival has a unique programming formula. With a 50/50 talent split between Africa and the rest of the world, this South African event allows for local musicians to take their rightful place alongside International musicians, for the benefit of a very dynamic art form.

For the 18th series starting on 30 March 2017 with the free community jazz night at the Cape Town`s Green Market Square, more than 40-acts perform will perform over the two days on five stages at the CTICC. The pre-festival concert has become a permanent feature of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival and is the organisers’ commitment to community members who cannot make it to the paid sessions of the event.

The 18th annual Cape Town International Jazz Festival 2017 features the best local and international Jazz performers including Everette Harp, Jeff Lorber, Paul Jackson Jr, Judith Sephuma, Taylor McFerrin, Marcus Gilmore, Andra Day, Buddy Well, Camillo Lombard, Kamasi Washington, Laura Mvula, Tresor, Tsepo Tshola, Manu Dibango, Tom Misch, Moreira Chonguica, Pops Mohamed, Thandiswa Mazwai, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Siya Makuzeni, Darren English, Deepak Pandit, Marcus Wyatt, Ranjit Barot, Dope Saint Jude, En Vogue, Escalandrum, Ernie Smith, Gretchen Parlato, Jonas Mosa Gwangwa, Sekunjalo Edujazz Band, Skyjack, Sonik Citizen, Soweto String Quartet, The Rudimentals, VuDu, Mango Groove and many, many more for the indulgence of jazz lovers from all over the African continent.