A colourful mural that pays homage to the rich jazz history of the Western Cape was unveiled at Artscape in Cape Town on Sunday, 16 June 2013. The event formed part of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) and Artscape’s annual Youth Day celebrations. Youth Day was celebrated this year with the theme, Working Together for Youth Development and a Drug Free South Africa.
The project was conceptualised and initiated by DCAS’ Arts and Culture component in 2010, with valuable input from various artists and representatives from the arts sector. It pays homage to jazz legends of the Western Cape who have contributed and still contribute to the development and growth of this art form.
The Western Cape jazz legends mural booklet distributed at this event contains the names and biographies of the musicians depicted on the murals. Detailed information regarding these legends can be obtained through the writings of Lars Rasmussen, Gwen Ansell and Carol Ann Muller. Hardy Stockmann’s photos captured precious moments in the lives of these musicians.
The mural was painted by the renowned visual artist, Garth Erasmus, with the assistance from two young emerging visual artists, Bongi Jwambi and Aviwe Plaatjie. Erasmus said the mural at Artscape will serve as a powerful social and educational tool for the community and as a reservoir of inspiration for future generations.
DCAS Arts, Culture and Language Director Ms Jane Moleleki added that the mural flows from the vision and mission of DCAS, which is to create a socially inclusive and interactive Western Cape. “We are committed to promote, preserve and develop arts and culture in the province. It’s important to document the work and life of these jazz legends, who inspire our youth to remember their contributions and to follow in their footsteps,” said Moleleki.
Ms Marlene le Roux of Artscape said that the event is a wonderful way of celebrating young people. She requested for the booklet to be distributed to schools, libraries and museums to educate the public about these icons. It was an emotional and proud moment for Cape Town bassist Peter Ndlala, whose face is also depicted on the mural. “I’m humbled to be honoured alongside these jazz legends that have inspired me to become what I am today,” said Ndlala.
The Youth Day celebrations were concluded with a production commissioned by DCAS, a fusion of jazz, hip-hop, contemporary African dance and indigenous music. Young people from across the province showcased their talent.
DCAS and its partners brought hope to young people in the province by commemorating the past, celebrating the present and building strong foundations for future development. The event was a reminder of the power of arts, which transcends all boundaries.