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Steve Kekana rolls back the years at the Joburg Theatre Print E-mail
02 May 2017

Steve Kekana has staying power. He proved this once again with a superlative performance at the Joburg Theatre on Saturday night (April 29).

But what was even more heart-warming was the love and adoration Mzansi music fans have for the legendary artist, who brought along Joe Nina, Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse and Ladysmith Black Mambazo to spice things up in his honour.

Dubbed Iphupho, The Dream, Kekana’s live concert – the first of two shows over the weekend – was not just about dishing out favourite hits that he has churned out over the years, but it was also about motivating and uplifting people.

The concerts were sponsored by the national Department of Arts and Culture and Joburg Theatres, the City of Johannesburg’s entertainment entity.

A group of six young gospel singers, known as Faith, set the tone just after 7pm with several songs that warmed up the venue. As more people trickled in to fill up the Mandela Stage, programme director Sphiwe Majozi of the Uzalo fame emphasised the importance of South Africans honouring legends such as Kekana while they were still alive.

Faith’s performance was followed by what one fan called Ladysmith Black Mambazo Reloaded, in reference to the new generation of singers who these days make up the world’s most-celebrated isicathamiya ensemble following the retirement of its inimitable leader, Joseph Shabalala, and a few other founding members of the group.

With three of Shabalala’s sons leading the way, the nine-member group, supported by a five-piece band, had the crowd on its feet. Music lovers swayed their hips this way and that way as the group belted out hits such as Nomathemba, Hello My Baby and others.

Just before 9pm, the man of the hour stepped onto the stage. Dressed in a cerise long-sleeved linen shirt and a pair of black pants, Kekana looked the part of the guest of honour. The venue went wild as he knelt on the stage to acknowledge the fans who had supported him and his music from day one. He thanked the audience for honouring him while he was still alive.

“Most people are honoured when they are dead. Thank you for honouring me while I’m still alive,” Kekana said to thunderous applause.

Then the music started. After I Love You Africa, he delivered I Feel So Strong, a duet he performed with PJ Powers early in his career. He apologised to fans on behalf of PJ Powers, who could not make it because of other engagements.

They did not mind as they danced up a storm in the aisles. His third offering was about inspiration and following one’s dreams. In between he told his audience that when he went blind at the age of five, his mother became very worried. But his grandfather reassured her that young Steve would overcome his disability to become the “king of his siblings”, a dream that was soon realised.

Nina and Kekana then teamed up to deliver the remixed version of Iphupho (The Dream), which brought the house down. The younger musician could not hide his admiration for Kekana, a friend of his father’s who was his role model growing up.

When the two performed a “serious vocal rendition” of Take Your Love and Keep It in honour of the late Nana Coyote, the crowd was in seventh heaven. Nina’s medley of his greatest hits followed and the other legend, Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, took to the podium. He was a marvel to watch and to listen to – playful and having fun on stage.

Kekana joined him. As they belted out Burn Out, one could feel their years of collaboration and friendship coming through.

Shikisha was also a big hit with the crowd on the night. Mabuse said his decision to go back to school to finish his matric was inspired by Kekana, who is not only a brilliant musician but also a lawyer.

When the show ended just after 10pm the crowd still wanted more.

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, Community Safety MEC Faith Mazibuko and former Minister of Defence Ronnie Kasrils were among those who danced the night away.

A series of events are lined up this year to honour the man who has 44 albums to his name and has received more than 70 Golden Disc Awards.


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Last Updated on 02 May 2017