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Bridging generations: There’s music for all tastes at the National Arts Festival

Published on 29 April 2024

Music has always been an important part of the National Arts Festival programme. And in our 50th year, while the presentation has changed, its centrality on the Curated Programme remains the same. 

The Curated Music Programme brings a diverse collection of sounds and experiences. For the big weekend acts, a new generation of musical talents feature on the programme with Zoë Modiga leading the charge, and the gentle giant of the music industry Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse returning to the Festival at 72. Charismatic crowd-pleaser Mandisi Dyantyis is a recurring performer on the stages of NAF, this year with an eight-piece band.


Left: Mandisi Dyantyis | Centre: Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse | Right: Zoë Modiga

Makhanda’s celebrated International Library of African Music (ILAM) will present a focus on African Music. Multi-instrumentalist Guy Buttery will also make a welcome return to the Festival this year.

This year the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality supports the South African National Jazz Orchestra in partnership with Mandela Bay Theatre Complex. This is in addition to the Dakawa Jazz Programme, an Eastern Cape-focused music programme supported by the Eastern Cape Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture. The Makhanda Jazz Festival, incorporating the National Youth Jazz Festival, runs for a period within the Festival, and once again features South African greats and newbies. 

In Schau-fe[r]n-ster and the Sleepwalker, pianist Peter Cartwright presents a concert of solo piano music, including works by three prominent South African composers: Andile Khumalo, Alexander Johnson, and Conrad Asman. In Piano & Poems – Everybody is a Bridge, Anton Krueger performs poems from his latest collection while legendary pianist and composer Paul Hanmer improvises. 

The National Arts Festival takes place from 20 to 30 June 2024 in Makhanda. Tickets go on sale on 29 April. For more from the National Arts Festival’s Curated Programme, click here.

There’s always something innovative and unexpected on the Fringe, experimental works on the Arena Programme, or a magical experience awaiting on our Family Programme.