The Orbit Jazz Bar in Braamfontein celebrated international jazz day with a focus on the people affected by xenophobia in South Africa. 

JAZZ NIGHT: Thadi Ntuli's

JAZZ NIGHT: Thandi Ntuli and her bandmates came together to celebrate international jazz day at The Orbit. Photo: Michelle Gumede.


International jazz day came to Braamfontein on Thursday, March 30, with a performance by pianist Thandi Ntuli and her band. The global event created by UNESCO is aimed at celebrating the qualities and the virtues of jazz, but the local celebration also made use of the performance to collect donations for affected by the recent wave of xenophobia.

The Orbit, hosts of the event, partnered with local charity, Gift of the Givers, who have been working with displacement camps that are currently housing people left homeless through xenophobia.

For Ntuli it wasn’t just about performing on stage and asking people to donate to the charity, it was about using the event to make a difference.

“Am I going to say ‘Oh no’ those bad people or I am going to do something positive in light of what’s happening”, said Ntuli.

Audience members were asked to donate towels, non-perishable food items, disposable diapers, hygiene packs, winter clothes, and other items.

These would then be collected later by the organization who will distribute them to camps in Johannesburg and Durban.

Celebrating the beauty of jazz

The Orbit was filled to capacity for the evening’s celebration of jazz. Amaeshi Ikechi, the band’s bassist, said that for him jazz had started off as just as musical improvisation.

Sphelelo Mazibuko, the drummer, believes that jazz is an expressive language that transcends all other genres.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re young or if you’re old. It’s expressionate (sic), it’s fresh and it keeps growing,”said Mazibuko.