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Thabo Mbeki Foundation and Joy of Jazz Collaborate to Promote Arts and Culture

Caroline Du Plessis



The Thabo Mbeki Foundation and the Joy of Jazz have joined forces to celebrate arts and culture in a groundbreaking collaboration. This partnership seeks to emphasize the importance of the arts in nation-building and will pave the way for various events and initiatives aimed at fostering creativity, promoting reading and writing, and preserving African heritage. Former South African president Thabo Mbeki, known for his commitment to social development, shared his vision for the future and the crucial role the arts play in shaping society.

A Concert to Commemorate Mbeki’s Birthday:
On his 81st birthday, Thabo Mbeki was honoured with a music concert held at the Joburg Theatre in Johannesburg. This event marked an important milestone in his life, as it also symbolized his return to the theatre where he had previously protested against racial segregation. The concert featured talented South African artists such as Simphiwe Dana, the Drakensberg Boys, and saxophonist Linda Sikhakhane. Ringo Madlingozi’s energetic performance had the audience on their feet, transcending political differences and showcasing the power of music to unite people.

The Role of Arts in Nation-Building:
Thabo Mbeki emphasized the significance of arts in shaping the identity and unity of a nation. He expressed concerns that society often views music and other art forms merely as entertainment, overlooking their deeper impact. Mbeki argued that separating jazz, for example, from the country’s politics would be a mistake. Hence, the collaboration between the Thabo Mbeki Foundation and the Joy of Jazz aims to reintroduce the arts as a crucial element in building a strong and vibrant nation.

The Thabo Mbeki Presidential Library:
The Thabo Mbeki Foundation envisions the establishment of the Thabo Mbeki Presidential Library as a beacon of knowledge and inspiration for Africa. Planned to commence construction this year, the library will serve as a hub for learning, exchanging ideas, and preserving African heritage. With eight domes, one of which will be dedicated to arts and culture, the library will house archives from prominent figures in politics and culture. The library’s scope goes beyond South Africa, as it aims to represent the collective history and aspirations of the entire continent.

Promoting Reading and Writing:
In addition to celebrating the arts, the Thabo Mbeki Foundation recognizes the importance of cultivating a culture of reading and writing. Mbeki lamented the declining interest in reading, stressing the need for individuals to embrace the written word as a source of knowledge and growth. To encourage a love for literature, the Foundation plans to launch Africa Day lectures, award prizes for exceptional African literature in various genres, and advocate for increased literacy across the continent.

Looking Ahead:
The collaboration between the Thabo Mbeki Foundation and the Joy of Jazz sets the stage for a renaissance of arts and culture in Africa. By leveraging the power of music, literature, and artistic expression, the partnership aims to inspire creativity, preserve heritage, and foster a sense of unity. Thabo Mbeki’s vision for a library that transcends national boundaries embodies the continent’s collective history, ensuring that future generations can learn from the past and shape a brighter future.

As the Thabo Mbeki Foundation and the Joy of Jazz embark on this collaborative journey, they reiterate the vital role that arts and culture play in nation-building. Through concerts, workshops, exhibitions, and the establishment of the Thabo Mbeki Presidential Library, the partnership seeks to inspire Africans to embrace their cultural heritage, ignite their creativity, and promote intellectual growth. By prioritizing the arts, reading, and writing, they pave the way for a more enriched and united Africa, where every individual can contribute to shaping the continent’s future.