‘Jazz refugees’ to swamp Mother City

By IndepthAfrica
In Movie & Music
Mar 30th, 2012

OLD HAND: Hugh Masekela

BESIDES Helen Zille’s “educational and health refugees”, the thousands of “refugees” expected to swamp Cape Town this weekend is a good enough reason for the Western Cape premier to be afraid – though pleasantly so.

The ironic twist to Zille’s controversial “refugee” claims is that this weekend the thousands who will flock to the province are “jazz refugees” running away from the “jazz drought” currently gripping the rest of South Africa.

These “refugees” are expected to grace the 13th Cape Town International Jazz Festival at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CICC).

The scale of the temporary refugee problem is enormous.

Just to give Zille an idea of the problem she has to deal with this weekend, 300 accredited journalists are expected to cover the extravaganza that will see at least 34,000 jazz lovers grace this two-day event.

These refugees will not only occupy the CICC, they have literally booked out all the city’s hotels, motels and B&Bs, leaving no room for the legitimate citizens of the Cape of Good Hope.

But the premier’s refugee problems do not end there.

These refugees will also overrun the city’s restaurants and pubs since they are expected to spend thousands on food, especially seafood and drinks – not forgetting the province’s internationally acclaimed wines.

According to the organisers, about 3000 jobs – albeit temporary ones – will be created.

The festival is expected to inject about R49-million into the province’s economy, according to MEC for finance, economic development and tourism Alan Winde.

“A world-class line-up of artists will descend on the Mother City for the 13th Cape Town International Jazz Festival.

“This annual event, which is expected to draw over 34000 tourists and generate an economic boost of R498million into the province, has become one of the leading tourist events on our annual calendar.

“The Western Cape government is pleased to be associated with an event of this calibre that draws artists from across the globe.

“We look forward to yet another spectacular show,” Winde said in a statement released to the media last week.

“On behalf of the City of Cape Town, I would like to encourage Cape Town and surrounding areas’ jazz lovers to support this year’s International Jazz Festival.”

But Ms Zille, a bigger problem on your plate will be extremely high noise levels.

Can you believe it, these refugees are also bringing top musicians for their entertainment.

Musical instruments such as saxophones, drums, trombones, guitars – and especially bass guitars – are known to create the greatest noise.

The organisers have confirmed that the following musicians will form part of the “refugee” problem for the next 48 hours: i, Nouvelle Vague, Ill Skillz, Atmosphere, Jean Grae, Goodluck, Pharoahe Monch, The Moreira Project, James Ingram, Dave Koz with special guest Patti Austin, Zahara, Marcus Miller, Hugh Masekela and Special guests Celebrate Mama Afrika, Zamajobe, Lauryn Hill, Herbie Tsoaeli, Dorothy Masuku, Adam Glasser, the Patti Austin Trio, Kevin Mahogany, The Andre Petersen Quintet, Donald Harrison, Ron Carter and Lenny White, Brubecks play Brubeck with special guest Mike Rossi, Steve Dyer, Sophia Foster, Xia Jia Trio, Victor Kula, Alfredo Rodriguez, the Jason Reolon Trio, David Sanchez and Lionel Loueke, Steve Tyrell, Unathi, Allen Stone, Hassan’adas, Mike Stern and David Weckl, Alexander, Sinton High School Jazz Band, Gabriel Tchiema, Lindiwe Suttle, Virtual Jazz Reality and Third World Band.

Some of the artists will take to the stage tomorrow and others on Sunday.

Finally Zille will have to take action against her own provincial and local government officials as some of them seem hellbent on encouraging the “refugees” to flock to the city.

Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille had this to say: “The Cape Town International Jazz Festival is a national treasure that injects millions into the economy of the country.

“Cape Town will continue to support this festival to promote the heritage of jazz music and ensure that it continues to attract large crowds.”

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