Alliance Française launches month-long musical programme for Joburg

The Alliance Française is running a series of exciting musical events in Johannesburg, South Africa throughout September.

Yvonne Chaka Chaka is among the musicians who will speak out about their favourite music. Photo:
Yvonne Chaka Chaka is among the musicians who will speak out about their favourite music. Photo:

Dubbed September Jive, the initiative aims to pay tribute to the musical heritage of South Africa. A series of events will provide a platform to meet, discuss and engage around the diversity and history that makes South Africa such a rich musical country.  Activities will include exhibitions, panel discussions, screenings and networking meetings.

“September Jive aims at promoting the South African musical heritage, from a musicological, historical and visual perspective,” said Alliance Française in a press release.


The programme features two exhibitions namely SA Musical Graphics and My Favourite Sounds. According to Alliance Française SA Musical Graphics will present “the country’s 150 most interesting, important and beautiful sleeve covers, with a special focus on truly South African designs.” The selection was made by a group of collectors and designers such as Siemon Allen, Rob Allingham, Caroline Hillary, Molemo Moiloa.

My Favourite Sounds  will have music and media personalities speaking out about their favourite tracks and albums. It consists of 50 photo portraits of music and media personalities including Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Johnny Clegg and Brenda Sisane, accompanied by short interviews about their favourite South African music.

Below is a full list of the programme line up:

Thursday 01 September (18:30)

Opening of both exhibitions

Friday 02 September (18:30)

Screening: Phuzekhemisi (Damon Heatlie)

Wednesday 07 September (18:30)

Forbidden sounds, music and censorship in the time of apartheid (presented by Michael Drewett)

This presentation explores the apartheid regime's popular music censorship practices, from the banning of 'undesirable' music from distribution (and sometimes possession) to keeping the airwaves clear of subversive messages.

Friday 09 September (18:30)

Screening: Amandla! A Revolution In Four-Part Harmony (Lee Hirsh)

Thursday 15 September (18:30)

Past to the present, old sounds to modern ears

This panel discussion is about the re-issues market, from compilations to original albums. It focuses on 4 specialised labels, their successes and challenges in a time of sampling and DJs.

Moderator: Richard Nwamba (SAFM); panellists: Chris Albertyn, Rob Allingham, Alain Courbis, Benjy Mudie.

Friday 16 September (18:30)

Screening: Dilemma (Peter Maxwell) – excerpt and Africa Shakes (Basil Mailer)

Thursday 22 September (18:30)

SA cult albums, divine sounds?

This panel discussion addresses the notion of “cult” for a work of popular art. The 1968 song Yakhal' Inkomo by Winston "Mankunku" Ngozi is one of the best examples of a record achieving cult status. But what does it mean? And which social and political factors are at work to make such a work cult?

Moderator: Brenda Sisane (Kaya fm); panellists: Percy Mabandu, Lloyd Ross, other panellists to be confirmed.

Friday 23 September (18:30)

Screening: Jiving And Dying - The Radio Rats Story (Michael Cross)

Wednesday 28 September (18:30)

A Brief History of the SA Musical Industry (presented by Rob Allingham)

This talk will cover a century of producing, marketing and distributing local music, from the early years to the greatest successes and to the downward trends of the present.

Friday 30 September (18:30)

Screening: Future sound of Mzansi (Nthato Mokgata & Lebogang Rasethaba)

September Jive - A Tribute to SA Musical Heritage is presented by the Alliance Française of Johannesburg, curated by Rob Allingham and supported by the Southern African Music Right Organisation (SAMRO) and the French Institute of South Africa.

Venue: Alliance Française, Johannesburg.

All events are for free and anyone can attend.

September Jive will later on travel to the Alliances Françaises of Cape Town and Durban.

The Alliance Française is a world-wide non-profit network devoted to promoting French language and Francophone cultures. The organisation’s network in Southern Africa  comprises offices in South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

For more information about this eevent, please visit the Alliance Française’s website


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