For the first time in 40 years, South African music living legends Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, Babsy Mlangeni, Abigail Kubeka, PJ Powers, Soul Brothers the duo Pappa and Blondie will share the stage at the newly renovated iconic Jabulani Amphitheatre.
Taking place on Sunday, September 25, the “Legends Tribute Concert” is a reflective music journey of South Africa’s music legends by legends, paying homage to other musical icons, alive and departed.
IOL Entertainment spoke to Ntate Babsy Mlangeni, Mam Abigail Kubeka and Ntate Hotstix Mabuse who insisted that the event is “no ordinary show, it’s an experience of an era, legacy and history” of the South African music.
“I’m looking forward to a great experience. I’m looking forward to curating something that has never been done before … The opening part of this show is the most critical part for me because it is when everybody who is in the line-up is going to be on stage,” said Mabuse.
“The last time I was at the Jabulani Amphitheatre with these legends was in 1982 when I was still with the group Harari.”
The “Burn Out” singer said felt honoured to be back at the Jabulani Amphitheatre to mark the official re-opening of the venue that forms part of the history and heritage of the people of Soweto since its inception in the early 50s.
“It’s always a privilege to be part of the crew of great performers … I’m in a company of greatness, people like Babsy Mlangeni, the Soul Brothers with Moses Ngwenya, Papa and Blondie, PJ Powers, sis Abigail Kubheka, what more can one ask for … of course, in my view I would have wished for Juluka, though Johnny (Clegg) has passed on, I would have liked for his son and Sipho Mchunu to be part of this gig.
“This is not just a music festival, it’s the moment of reflecting, a moment of preserving history, preserving of the venue itself, preserving of the music of a particular era which was in the 80s.
“The fans must come and experience an era, a legacy, a history,” added the muso.
Echoing Mabuse’s sentiments, Kubeka added that the show is an ode to all her peers and other musical legends who paved the way for her and other musicians.
“This concert means so much to me. It makes me very emotional because when I look back I find that all my peers, the people that I’ve travelled this road with, or I’ve found on this road are no longer around.
“We must celebrate them, especially the ones that groomed me. Miriam (Makeba), Dolly (Rathebe), Dorothy (Masuka) and Thandi (Klaasen) … these are the people I admired and hoped and wished to be like in the industry. And I happened to be one of them.
Kubeka confirmed that she will be performing live for the first time in two and a half years and she’s ready to wow the crowd.
“Jabulani Amphitheatre was the place to be, it was alive, there was music everywhere during those years, the 70s and 80s,” recalled Kubeka.
“And the support we got there was amazing. We were all different, some were jazz artists, some mbaqanga, pop and blues but we all received the support.
“We used to fill that venue. All the people who are performing at this show used to fill up the Amphitheatre, all the time.
“We rocked that place, then, and we are going to rock it even now. We are all looking forward to that.”
The “Generation: The Legacy” actress added that fans can expect a show like no other.
“I’m looking forward to working with my peers again, though most of them are gone, to be here is such an honour and a privilege.
“Fans can expect the best because I respect my audience and I know they deserve only the best. I’ll be in my element, taking them them down memory lane,” said the 82-year-old.
Mlangeni, who will also be performing live for the first time since the Covid pandemic hit in 2020, said he was honoured to be part of this tribute concert.
“This show wouldn’t have come at a better time. We didn’t do anything during Covid, we were just sitting at home, now this show is a real relief. I feel so good to be honoured while I’m still alive,” said Mlangeni.
“People sometimes ask if I’m really Babsy Mlangeni when I introduce myself … they would say ‘is that guy still alive?’
“So, I appreciate what the organisers of this show have done for us. I’ll be happy if other people can take an example from them because we would like to perform more.”
Mlangeni said that going back to perform at the Jabulani Amphitheatre has brought back many joyful memories.
“I remember performing at the Amphitheatre, my mother, uncles and aunts where there, the people outside were more than the people inside, I had to book the venue again to perform for the people who didn’t get a chance to watch my show. Even the hostel dwellers enjoyed coming to see us perform … those were the good old days.
“I would like for abo-gogo (grandmothers) and abo-mkhulu (grandfathers) to come and enjoy themselves as they did many years ago … they must bring their grandchildren and children. I want to take them down memory lane,” added Mlangeni.
Mlangeni said he is thrilled that he was able to inspire many people who later became legendary musicians.
“I started performing in 1963 to raise awareness on blind and partially sighted persons … I had to go from one school to another so that the children would understand that being blind should not stop you from achieving your dreams.
“I have inspired Steve Kekana, I inspired Lazarus Kgagudi and many others. I’m very happy that I contributed a lot to this industry.”
Commenting on the event, Vincent Motau, Soweto Theatre GM, said: “What a fitting way to officially launch the iconic Amphitheatre to commemorate this historic moment with the greats, the gems that have graced stages around the globe and are living legends.
“The ‘Legends Tribute Concert’ is set to take you on a music journey traversing through decades while providing historical insights about these glorious icons as they blazed their renowned trails.”
Tickets to “Legends Tribute With Hotstix” are available at Webtickets for R150.