‘Anthems’ concerts to celebrate 20 years of freedom

26 February 2014

Anthems of Democracy, a series of concerts featuring world-famous singer-songwriter Joan Armatrading and a powerful line-up of local musicians, will take place at the Joburg Theatre in April as part of South Africa’s 20 years of freedom celebrations.

South African artists Bright Blue, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Jennifer Ferguson, Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, Victor Masondo, Mzwakhe Mbuli, Themba Mkhize, Vicky Sampson and the Soweto Gospel Choir will join Armatrading onstage in Johannesburg on 24, 25 and 26 April, with details of a special Freedom Day performance on 27 April still to be announced.

“During the period of 1980 to 1990, a group of South African musicians was very active in protesting against the then government of South Africa,” Joburg Theatre executive producer Bernard Jay said in a statement earlier this month.

Anthems of Democracy features many of these artists whose songs became songs of hope and encouragement through troubled times.

“At such an emotionally important time as the 20th anniversary of democracy, Joburg Theatre honours these artists and pays tribute to them and all the other artists who fought for democracy in their country.”

The accompanying story of the times will be narrated on stage by South African storyteller and author Gcina Mhlope.

The concerts are being produced by Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse and Roddy Quin, who produced the internationally acclaimed Nelson Mandela 46664 music events and has been the manager of South African icon Johnny Clegg for 23 years.

In 1989, Quin staged the Human Rainbow Concert, which featured black and white South African artists on the same stage. The concert was banned by the apartheid government, resulting in a year-long court battle which finally saw the ruling overturned.

That landmark decision meant mixed concerts were allowed in South Africa without having to apply for government approval, and during the early 1990s Quin worked with all the artists now on the Anthems of Democracy bill.

Tickets for Anthems of Democracy range in price from R160 to R300 and are on sale through www.joburgtheatre.com or by calling 0861 670 670.

Performances will be on Thursday 24 April and Friday 25 April at 7.30pm and on Saturday 26 April at 3pm and 7.30pm. Details of a special Freedom Day performance on Sunday 27 April will be announced later.

Joburg Theatre and SAinfo reporter