A Proliferation of jazz clubs with black middle-class businessmen and politicians as patrons are fast becoming a cultural feature that defines Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage.
The growing interest in jazz has filtered down to the youth by the launch of the Madiba Bay Youth Ensemble, a 22-piece orchestra made up largely of young musicians from underprivileged communities.
One of the pioneers of the development of jazz music in Port Elizabeth, and former owner of the General Jazz Club in the Zwide township, Lunga Magxaka said entertainment places including township taverns were being “brought together to be vibrant cultural centres, with jazz the main musical form that connects people”.
He said: “Gone are the days of associating tavern and shebeen life with crime, murder and rape or with the spread of HIV and Aids.”
The resurrection in townships of middle-class jazz even has Rhodes University investigating the growing wave of jazz in the Eastern Cape.