Jazz on the lawn takes it up a notch

Jimmy Dlulu
Jimmy Dlulu

Dubbed ‘Jazz on the lawn’, the inaugural Gaborone International Jazz Festival (GIJF) took performance up a notch when it kicked off at Serokolwane Farm near Phakalane on Saturday.

The show featured a strong line up comprising of Jimmy Dludlu, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Nnunu Ramogotsi, Atjazz, Punah Gabasiane-Molale, Mpho Sebina, Louis Mhlanga, HHP and The Pulse of Joy Choir, and Shanti Lo. The performances kicked off with Punah, then Atjazz, followed by the songstress, Mpho Sebina.  At sunset Nnunu also known as Mmasonoko was on stage warming up the crowd on a rather chilly Saturday night.  Guitarist, Mhlanga, performed prior to Ladysmith Black Mambazo taking to the stage.

With just two founding members left in the nine-member group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo demonstrated that the legacy of Iscathamiya is still alive.  They performed their classics including the hits composed during the Grammy winning Graceland tour with Paul Simon.  Although lead singer Joseph Shabalala did not travel with the group, his four sons namely Thulani, Msizi, Mbongeni and Thami Shabalala enthralled the Gaborone crowd.  Also in the group was ‘the third generation of Ladysmith Black Mambazo’ Babuyile Shabalala who is the son of Msizi and grandson of founding member Joseph.

Shanti Lo also proved to be a force to reckon with as he moved the crowds performing after Ladysmith Black Mambazo.


Clad in gold pants and a tight fitting black and silver T-shirt, he proved to be among the most underrated jazz singers in Botswana.

Motswako ‘originator’ and TV star, HHP brought The Pulse Choir of Joy from the musical TV series Msanzi Magic’s Clash Of The Choirs. The Motswako king’s set confirmed his legendary status in the music circles as he proved once again that he takes his performances far too seriously.

It was HHP who brought a live band into ‘motswako’ performances when other artists were lip-synching.  Having the band and choir showed that HHP is way above his motswako peers when it comes to live performances.

The highlight of the show was Dludlu’s electric performance.

It took more than 30 minutes for his band to set and do the sound check before he could step onto the stage. When he finally came on he played his old songs, which he said connect him to Botswana.  Songs like Francistown that he said he wrote while staying at Area L.

Midway through his set, Dludlu gave local young guitarist Gomotsegang Gee Rapoo his guitar and the young artist mesmerised the crowd.

Editor's Comment
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