Cape Town

Cape Town Photos

24 Jun 2006

Porcupine sighting - Strandfontein

I could not believe my eyes when I was driving home last night(23 June 2006 after 19:00). What initially appears to be a moving bush turned out to be two porcupines moving across the road. If you tell people that there are porcupines right on our doorsteps living in the bushes along the beach in Strandfontein, they will not believe you. This was surely an eye opener for me.

One can only guess that because of the encroachment of urban development, some of the fauna on the Cape Flats are forced out to the untouched remaining coastal areas.

We have to keep a watch against the members of the "Flat Earth Society"(greedy property developers). They are on a mission to really flatten the Cape Flats.

Take a stand. We are not here are alone.

22 Jun 2006

The Monday Night Jazz Jam

"The best things in life are free." So, the saying goes. But I can honestly tell you that in this case it is true. If you do not believe me come see for yourself.

The occasion: The Monday Night Jazz Jam Session.
The venue: Swingers Jazz Pub & Restaurant, 1 Wetwyn Road, Wetton, Cape Town. call +27 21 7622443
Entry: Free

Every Monday at just after 21:00 this venue dishes up some of the best jazz. Led by guitarist Alvin Dyers, this is one jam that should not be missed by any music lover. The Monday night jazz jam has become a regular institution for many jazz lovers and musicians alike.

Normally the jam starts with the resident band led by Alvin Dyers. After the first set one never knows what is going to happen but it always end up in some unexpected magic. Besides the resident band one never know who is going to turn up. It can be anybody, whether local cabinet members, established local musicians, like Hilton Schilder, Errol Dyers, Jimmy Dludlu, Emily Bruce, Robbie Jansen, Mac Mckenzie, Winston Mankunku Ngozi,Kesivan Naidoo, Basil Moses, Harold Japhta or upcoming younger lions like Jonathan Rubain, Shaun Johannes, John Russel, Chris Engel, Kyle Shepherd, Clayton September, Darren English or international established musicians like Stefon Harris, Joe Sample, Jeannie Bryson, John Funkhouser,Gary Wittner or music academics like professor Hotep Idris Galeta or professor Richard Nelson from USA or numbers of Scandinavian musicians.

The magic of the Monday night jam also seems to leave a big impression on vistors because when you ask certain people how they know about the place, they reply that they heard about it from previous visitors. The jam also also results in friendship that bridges beyond the music with some overseas visitors returning to Cape Town on a regular basis. Names I can remember which resulted into friendships include Fred Salles (France), Sahrin Rezai (Germany), Nina Henger (Germany) and Richard Nelson (United States Of America).

One of the positive aspects of the jam is that it serves as a platform where young and upcoming jazz musicians(including music students) can grow their confidence. Often established musicians like Darryl Andrews, Alvin Dyers, Errol Dyers and
Robbie Jansen will lift these younger musicians' spirits and confidence by joining them in the jam.

Thanks must also go to the owner of the place, Kevin Harris, because if you are not a music lover a jam like this one will not last for so many years.

If you have not been there, whether you are a jazz lover or musician, the invitation is open...

Gary, thank you for gracing our shores. It seems like Richard Nelson is spreading the word about the jazz scene in Cape Town. We are looking forward to see the whole Aardvark Jazz Orchestra here one day.

11 Jun 2006

One Giant (Jazz) Leap For Little Giants


The Little Giants are proud to announce their debut recording with an album called Ungalibali.

The CD is intended to be a true expression of the major role South African music has played in our society as it reflects the voice of young and old while highlighting the diverse cultures of a growing nation.

The album also highlights the growth and development of the music industry in Cape with the inclusion of so many young people in a project that spans only the last 5 years. The album contains mainly original compositions and includes only one cover, namely that of a Winston “Mankunku Ngozi” song.
The Little Giants will launch their CD at Manenberg’s Jazz CafĂ© on Tuesday 23 May.

The Little Giants was established in 1999 under the musical directorship of Ezra Ngcukana and George Werner. This group of young musicians aged between 15 – 20 years old, hails from the suburbs and townships of the Cape Flats and greater Cape Town. The group’s repertoire of African standards, jazz standards and fusion, combines traditional rhythms with a solid brass section not usually found in community projects of this nature.

The group has performed at most major festivals and some important corporate and status events including The Cape Town Jazzathon, The North Sea Jazz Festival, The Cape Town Festival, and The Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival in Grahamstown. The Little Giants were also guest performers at the opening of parliament and President Mbeki’s state of the nation address in 2005.

The Little Giants comprise of 10-12 musicians, each being individually progressive musicians in their own right. Some of the Giants have already performed with the biggest names in Jazz including legends like Winston Mankunku, Robbie Jansen, Sylvia Mdunyelwa and Ezra Ngukana, to name but a few.

The group is available for bookings and can be contacted on

------------- Press Release by JCQ Media (A division of JCQ Productions) --------------
JCQ Productions
Phone: +27-21-683 2201
Fax: +27-21-683 6573


May 2006

The Little Giants was established in 1999 under musical directorship of Ezra Ngcukana and George Werner. This group of young musicians, aged between 15 and 21 years, from the suburbs and townships of the Cape Flats and greater Cape Town, has developed into a tightly knit integrated unit, bonded by their youthful enthusiasm and shared cultural experiences. Their repertoire of African standards, jazz standards and fusion has wowed the crowds wherever they have played. The combination of traditional rhythms and a solid brass section has provided this group with a biggish band sound that is not often found in community projects of this nature.

The group has performed at most of Cape Town’s major festivals and jazz clubs e.g.

Jazzathon, Waterfront, Cape Town, 2000-2006
North Sea Jazz Festival, People’s free Concert, Cape Town, 2002-2004
The Cape Town Festival, Company Gardens, Cape Town, 2004
Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival, Grahamstown, 2001-2004

Some of the Little Giant’s achievements thus far include:

• Performing at the Jazzathon for the seventh consecutive year.
• Playing at the Cape Town - North Sea Jazz Festival – People’s free Concert for the third year.
• Performing at an Education Budget banquet for the Minister of Education, Kader Asmal.
• The selection of three band members to national bands at the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival 2002.
• The selection of one of our high school band members to the National Youth Big Band at the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival 2003.
• The selection of five members of our ten-piece band to national bands at the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival 2004.
• Taking part in a tribute concert for the vocalist Annaline Malebo of the band Joy, where they were joined on stage by such great Cape Town musicians as Robbie Jansen and Sylvia Mdunyelwa.
• Being the only jazz group invited to The New Apostolic Church Concert and performing with a 1600 NAC member orchestra and the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra.
• Playing at the New Year’s Eve – Homecoming Concert (2002 - UWC – Bellville), and being the supporting band for Stompie Mavie at this concert.
• Performing at the opening of parliament and President Thabo Mbeki’s state of the nation address in 2005.

For any further information, contact


Seven of The Little Giants performing on the CD (as well as three past members of the group) have been selected on several occasions for the National Youth Jazz Band or Schools Jazz Band in Grahamstown since 2001. This means they have been recognized as some of the best performers of their respective instruments from a national pool of 300 top young jazz musicians between the ages of 14 and 26. They include:

Shaun Johannes
As one of the original members of the Little Giants, Shaun Johannes completed his B.Mus. (UCT) degree with distinction in 2005. Shaun plays acoustic bass, electric bass and the piano. He is also a composer and arranger and was the first to compose for the Giants in 2001. He performs extensively for the D.A. Band, UCT Big Band and Mike Campbell Big Band, and used to be the resident bass player at the Monday Night Jam Session. One of Shaun’s career highlights was a performance at the International Association for Jazz Education Conference in New York in 2005.

Chris Engel
Chris is a 2nd year UCT B.Mus. student who plays all saxophones, flute and clarinet. He is a composer and arranger, and has been with the Little Giants since mid-2000. Chris performed extensively with the D.A. Band, UCT and Mike Campbell Big Band and Various other units. A highlight in Chris Engel’s career was his invitation to play in Norway in 2005.

Lwanda Gogwana
Trumpet/Composer/Arranger- originally from East London, Lwanda is a 2nd year UCT B.Mus. student. He plays with the UCT Music Big Band, DA Band, and various other outfits. Lwanda has recently completed a season as part of Show Band at Roxy’s at Grand West.

Vuyo Gugushe
Trombone/Composer/Arranger - Vuyo, who has played with various big bands, is a 2nd year Business Science student at UCT (proving that jazz musicians do have grey matter!).

Jody Kriel
Trumpet – First year UCT student, Business Science. Jody has also played under 19 Cricket for W.P.

Sisonke Xonti
Tenor/Baritone – Sisonke is currently in Matric at SACS and also plays rugby and cricket and aspires to pursue Entertainment Law.

Keenan Ahrends
Guitar/Composer– First year Music student at UCT, Keenan plays in a ska band, amongst others.

One of our ex-Giants and National Schools Band members, Tshepo Puoane, is currently studying jazz in New York. One of the pieces on the Little Giants CD is composed by him. Unfortunately, he left Cape Town to pursue his studies before he could take part in recording it with the Little Giants.

Photos taken at cd launch at Nassau Center on 9 June 2006

04 Jun 2006

Can The Real National Flower Please Stand Up?

With the South African government's introduction of regulations for the control of plastic shopping bags the plastic bag has lost its claim to be one of South Africa's 'national flowers'. Its place has now most certainly been taken over by millions of used tyres strewn across open areas by irresponsible tyre dealers.

The problem with tyres is that where they are dumped and left they are almost indestructible, unless burnt.

In many cases tyres are burnt for the recovery of scrap metal. Not only does burnt tyres release dangerous toxins into the atmosphere, but causes vision problems for aviation as is the case sometimes around Cape Town International airport.

One of the other dangers about dumped used tyres is that these tyres sometimes end up being sold and used again as is on vehicles.

Because of their ability to retain water, dumped tyres can also become breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Only about over 10% of used tyres get recycled in South Africa. The South African Tyre Recycling Process Company (SATRP Co) was set up for the management of the collection of used tyres. They are not responsible for recycling.

The initial setup of tyre recycling plants are expensive.

Materials recovered from recycled tyres used for the manufacturing of flooring(mats, tiles), dustbins, and other rubber products. They can also be used as fuels in cement kilns and manufacturing plants.

Hopefully a successful solution can be implemented by government regulations for the control of used tyres and along the road on my way to the beach I will not see any of these unofficial national flowers.

And then the real national flowers will flourish...

"Jazz and freedom go hand in hand. That explains it. There isn't any more to add to it. If I do add to it, it gets complicated. That's something for you to think about. You think about it and dig it. You dig it..." Thelonious Monk
"Jazz and freedom go hand in hand. That explains it. There isn't any more to add to it. If I do add to it, it gets complicated. That's something for you to think about. You think about it and dig it. You dig it..." Thelonious Monk

Hamba Kahle Winston Mankunku Ngozi - Tributes

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