Cel­e­brat­ing a joy­ous 21 years

CityPress - - News - S’BU­SISO MSELEKU sport@city­press.co.za

Gospel mu­sic was a ne­glected child in the mu­sic in­dus­try at the dawn of democ­racy, which was dom­i­nated by pop, House and Kwaito. This changed when a group of mu­si­cians joined forces to raise the genre.

Lin­de­lani Mkhize, the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Sony Africa, said: “I felt there was a need and a niche for real singers. We used quite a num­ber of them as back-up mu­si­cians and we re­alised there was a lot of tal­ent.”

Mkhize’s late mother, fa­mously know as JB Mkhize, was a pop­u­lar con­duc­tor for the As­sem­blies of God choir in D Sec­tion in Um­lazi, Dur­ban, so it was an easy fit for him to find a place in gospel.

With fel­low mu­si­cians Mthunzi Namba and Jabu Hlong­wane, who are choir masters, he came up with the con­cept of Joy­ous Cel­e­bra­tion.

The coun­try had its free­dom and they felt that, de­spite the neg­a­tives, there was a lot to be cel­e­brated, hence the name Joy­ous Cel­e­bra­tion.

Some of the found­ing mem­bers were singers from Fam­ily Fac­tory, in­clud­ing Mar­garet Mot­sage, sis­ters Vicky and Gift Vi­lakazi, In­no­cent Modiba, Steve Mo­lak­eng and Wendy Mseleku.

Along the way, singers such as Si­bongile Mak­gathe, Sa­batha Ma­soka and Kwaito singer Sharon D made their mark.

Twenty one years later, they still re­flect the pos­i­tive spirit of the rain­bow na­tion. Their lat­est al­bum, Heal Our Land, recog­nises that “South Africa is in trou­ble and needs di­vine in­ter­ven­tion”, said Mkhize.

“The idea is for mu­si­cians to use Joy­ous Cel­e­bra­tion as a plat­form from which they can grow wings and then soar as high as they can.”

Al­though young mu­si­cians get a min­i­mum of two years to de­velop, he said that some had cho­sen to stay, while oth­ers had left.

“We al­ways tell mu­si­cians that tal­ent is not enough, but at­ti­tude is ev­ery­thing. This is what has kept us afloat, and pop­u­lar with our fans and spon­sors.

“Peo­ple know what to ex­pect when they go to a Joy­ous con­cert – they will be en­ter­tained by a group of pro­fes­sional artists.”

For Mkhize, the sig­nif­i­cance of the 21-year mile­stone is that it is “the work of God”.

They started this jour­ney just to “close a gap” and did not ex­pect to “still be stand­ing af­ter 21 years”.

Joy­ous Cel­e­bra­tion will take their Joy­ous 21 con­cert around the coun­try, start­ing at Gaut­eng’s Car­ni­val City on Good Fri­day.

PHOTO: LEON SADIKI

MAIN MAN Lin­de­lani Mkhize is one of the founders and a con­duc­tor of Joy­ous Cel­e­bra­tion

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