Nhlanhla Ngqaqu on Kulture Blues Festival and why he can’t celebrate Africa Month

Nhlanhla Ngqaqu. Picture: Instagram

Nhlanhla Ngqaqu. Picture: Instagram

Published May 11, 2021


The Pan-Afrikan jazz band L’ka Biko, together with legendary poet Makhafula Vilakazi and jazz vocalist Thandi Ntuli, are set to headline the inaugural Kulture Blues Festival.

The two-day festival features music, dance, poetry, jazz and literature at the South African State Theatre on Friday, May 14.

iPhupho L’ka Biko will be performing in the capital city for the first time since the release of their hit single, “Uthixo Ukhona”, a seminal sermon about the plight of black people and protest.

Commenting on the event, Nhlanhla Ngqaqu, the leader and founder of the group, said: “Culture Review (movement) is doing important cultural work for blacks and now having an inaugural festival is a milestone in using art to advance the revolution.

“As iPhupho L'ka Biko, it's a special day for us as this will be our debut at the State Theatre, and we will be presenting our new works with a 13-piece band.”

As we commemorate Africa Month, Ngqaqu says he doesn’t have anything much to celebrate at this stage due to the many challenges that African people are faced with.

“One must have won in order to celebrate and, at this stage, as Africans, we are on the losing end ... quite honestly, we have nothing to celebrate until we repossess our land from land thieves.

"We have nothing to celebrate until the economy is in the hands of the majority who are natives of this land.

“We have nothing to celebrate until we can freely express ourselves in our mother tongue, until we can freely carry out our spiritual ways .. .Only until then will we celebrate, when we no longer just exist but are living with dignity and victoriously as ’Afrikans’.”

On what being an African means to him, Ngqaqu said: “Knowing that wherever you set your foot on this continent is home, from Cape to Cairo, Morocco to Madagascar, Africa is home for all natives.”

Quizzed about how he will be commemorating Africa Day this year, Ngqaqu added: “We won't be celebrating, we will be dreaming and re-imagining the Africa that we desire.”

Tickets to the Kulture Blues Festival are available at Webtickets from R100.

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