Lalah Hathaway blows fans away at Kirstenbosch

Lalah Hathaway.

Lalah Hathaway.

Published Feb 1, 2024


I write this, slightly agitated by a book launch I attended on Tuesday.

The book is called Surviving a University [UCT] Department from Hell yet it does not mention a single hell incendiary by name. Throughout the entire book. No names.

I even asked the author to tell us who the “Gang of Six” at UCT is, or which lecturer did drugs and even burnt their office in the Leslie Social Science building.

He would not budge. I am going to actually write about this particular book launch next week Thursday.

Today, however, I would like to draw your attention to an "Intimate evening" I spent with an artist I barely knew. Lalah Hathaway.

There I was ensconced at the recently-manured Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, eagerly waiting to see Donny Hathaway's 55-year-old daughter on stage.

Eulaulah Donyll "Lalah" Hathaway, who was born in Chicago, Illinois, took to the stage just after 8pm and the crowd burst into song.

The Berklee College of Music graduate did not disappoint.

I was still clueless after her first three songs. I knew her father Donny's music. From what I hear Lalah's classic vocal style is quite similar to her father's.

"Lalah's performance at the Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concert this Saturday was beyond my expectations!" said gender activist, Vuyokazi Malafu.

"She has lived up to her five-time Grammy-award winning status. I enjoyed every minute of her mellow sounds that brought me so much joy and excitement,” Malafu added.

“Her versatile voice can master any key, her classical and melodious affectionate stage presence is also something to really marvel at.

“I could have listened to her singing a capella the whole evening," added Vuyokazi, who was particularly blown away when Lalah performed Insanity as well as a beautiful rendition of Mirror – a song about the importance of self-love.

From my amateur Lalah experience, I could see this song really struck a chord with many as they put aside their everyone-must-have Fieldbars and paid attention to her. And only her.

"Molo Cape Town!" hollered Lalah on stage after her first two songs. As I walked closer to the stage to take pictures I noticed Lalah had an orange South African MaXhosa pin accessory on her outfit.

She thanked the crowd for taking the time to attend her show and showing her so much love.

One of the fans, out of many who had travelled from out of town to witness Lalah, was Zola April from the Eastern Cape.

"In my late 20s I came across Lalah's music on the radio. She had this distinct voice. She immediately became one of the many artists I enjoy listening to," said Zola.

"Her live rendition of When Your Life Was Low stood out for me! It was my first time hearing her perform that particular song live."

Layman me only caught on to Lalah in what I would call her second half, when she slowed down the tempo and did a duet with Jason.

She further heeded the run-of-the-mill "we want more!" by doing an additional three songs! She has a new fan. Me.

It was truly a beautiful evening with Lalah that was opened by Langa Mavuso, DJ Big Russ, Legally Blynd and all weaved comically together by CapeTalk's Africa Melane.

Gripes? None. Except maybe the parking mess, seating arrangements and minor lackadaisical safety and security matters. Perhaps it is time for a park-and-ride solution for these Kirstenbosch concerts.

* Unathi Kondile is a former Independent Media editor.

Cape Times