Minister Nathi Mthethwa launches SA Jazz Legends Book, 4 Apr

Mr Nathi Mthethwa, the Minister of Arts and Culture, will on April 4, Wednesday, launch the book, ‘JAZZ EPISTLES, THE LIVING HISTORY in partnership with Touch HD. The book is a historical account of the story of the legendary Jazz Epistles. It is written by Nandi Molefe whose dream is to reignite the dialogue of the importance of the preservation and promotion of South Africa’s heritage and arts. It was born out of the group’s reunion concert, The Jazz Epistles Reunion in 2016 which was co-produced by Touch HD CEO Tbo Touch. The evening will be hosted by broadcasting veteran Tim Modise..

Since the time that the Jazz Epistles split in 1960, the group had never performed together until in 2016. Hugh Masekela, Abdullah Ibrahim and Jonas Gwangwa mesmerized the sold-out arena as they teleported back into the jazz golden era. They agreed to perform together as a special tribute to the June 16th 1976 Soweto Youth Uprising on its 40th year anniversary.

This book details the story of the Jazz Epistles and the musical journey they have travelled together in an innovative and intimate way. This jazz band is an all-star team of the greatest talent in African jazz and South African traditional music. The Jazz Epistles comprised of young men in their 20s who had no idea what the world had in store for them and yet blew the jazz world over.

Minister Mthethwa wrote the foreword with the introduction written by the former Mayor of Ekurhuleni Mondli Gungubele. The book has been endorsed by another celebrated icon Abdullah Ibrahim, the late Hugh Masekela and Jonas Gwangwa. Proceeds will be donated to their respective charity organisations.

Offering a fresh look at the untapped rich history of these world-renowned musical giants is part of an on-going SA Legend series led by the Department of Arts and Culture in celebrating, honouring and documenting South African legends. This book is a precious part of musical history that rightfully belongs to South Africans.

Not only did the Jazz Epistles encompass the native sounds of traditional and choral South African music, but also its impact on the resistant and revolutionary spirit of Sophiatown was fervent.

This memorabilia book explores the backstory of how the Jazz Epistles came to be a world renowned jazz band and how their excellence in their craft put South Africa on the global music map. It also touches on the context of SA Jazz in the ‘African jazz’ genre and how SA jazz of the 1960 and 70s impacted on the global anti-apartheid movement.

Minister Nathi Mthethwa says that: “It is important to share with younger generations the life stories and narratives of our Legends and their immense contribution to our freedom. Our current musical culture has been shaped by these three musical maestros and other Legends whose music and contribution resonate with us but also has found eager audiences on the stages of the world.”

Molefe said, Young South African artists need to know that their jazz forefathers shook the world with their raw South African sound. These jazz legends broke down the doors of the Grammys, Hollywood, concert halls and international royal houses. The story of The Jazz Epistles the Living History is a privilege to share due to the fact that we still have 3 of the 7 original band members with us in 2017 to honour.

Touch HD in partnership with the Department of Arts and Culture will continue to tell the South African story.

Source: Government of South Africa