If there’s one thing the Cape Town International Jazz Festival is never short of, it’s musical variety. This year was no different. So we donned our most comfortable shoes – what with all the walking and standing that we were anticipating – and headed to “Africa’s grandest gathering”.

Angie Stone, SWV, Meshell Ndegeocello and Lizz Wright were some of the international crowd pullers and Mafikizolo, new comer Nathi and hip hop sensation Khuli Chana gave us a dose of good old local sounds. Mafikizolo delivered a show worthy of the name – elaborate costumes, colourful dances and classic hits “We bhuti”, “Khwela” were belted out with the help of the masses.

If you’re not adequately prepared it’s easy to get pulled into the excitement. FOMO will have you catching just a mere glimpse of most of the performances. The trick is to pick your favourite artists and stick to their schedule. The five stages were a constant source of movement and buzz as crowds from all walks of life manoeuvred their way through CTICC from one performance to the next.

Two of our highlights had to be young jazz novices pianist, Thandi Ntuli and drummer, Tumi Mogorosi (and Project Elo). Ntuli was joined on stage by sultry voiced jazz vocalist Spha Mdlalose.

Actor Idris Elba made a surprise appearance on stage during legendary performance by Dorothy Masuku and Abigail Kubeka. And even controversial rapper Yasin Bey (Mos Def) was in attendance.

Here is what went down at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival:

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Photography courtesy Buhle Mweli

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