Turning 80 is a blessing not to be taken for granted. These are the words of South African music legend Caiphus Semenya as he celebrates his birthday month. To mark this momentous occasion, Semenya will toast his birthday in style with a music extravaganza at The Market Theatre next Saturday. Musicians Tsepo Tshola, Sipho Hotstix Mabuse and Condry Ziqubu will pay tribute to Semenya.
The event – Caiphus Semenya at 80 Music Extravaganza: Celebrating a Milestone and the Birth of a Legacy – will also include music from Buwa, the theatrical production he penned in 1986 about the injustices of apartheid. The night will be preceded by an intimate dinner before heading out to the John Kani Theatre.
“There are so many colleagues that I started this journey with and unfortunately most of them have since passed away, so it’s with a grateful heart that I look back and appreciate the blessings I received from Ramasedi, the Creator of the Universe,” Semenya said.
Show director Sello Maake Ka Ncube and music director Tshepo Mngoma will have a selected line-up of performers to present their interpretations of music by Semenya.
Semenya has contributed to the South African national songbook with classics such as Matswale, Angelina, Ziphi’nkomo, as well as the powerful collaborations like Ndiphendule with his wife Letta Mbulu.
The proceeds from the concert will go to Semenya’s National Academy of Africa’s Performing Arts (Naapa) in Jabulani, Soweto.
The school is aimed at grooming and nurturing the next generation of musicians, actors, dancers in the tutelage of legends like Semenya, Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba, Letta Mbulu, Jonas Gwangwa, Kippie Moeketsi, Zakes Mokae, John Kani, Nomsa Manaka and others.
“As much as there is some fun we will have, I never want us to lose focus on this project that is close to my heart, Naapa. I ask that we be generous in giving towards the academy to ensure that the next Caiphus Semenya is given a chance through one of the many programmes that will run at the academy.