What is it that comes to mind when you find out that you are going on an African Jazz Safari in Cape Town? Sweet lyricism and melodies? Cultural viewing? Sharing a love of different Jazz styles?

Yes, yes, and yes with the added bonus of sharing a homemade meal along with some great conversation and laughs in a musician’s home. While I am not a Jazz aficionado, I gained a greater appreciation for the struggles, stories, and triumphs that these musicians pour into their music.

African Jazz Safari with personal concert

Our evening tour was led by Coffeebeans Routes, a recent Africa Responsible Travel Gold Award recipient for Best Engagement of People & Culture. Our small group of 7 (four from Sri Lanka, two from Belgium and me) were first transported to the township of Gugulethu just outside Cape Town.

African Jazz Safari Experience

We were skillfully led by our guide through Gugulethu’s labyrinth of streets to the home of Blackie, who was a professional trumpet player that has traveled the world as part of a theater group. He was accompanied by Leech, a soulful guitarist who said everything that he needed to say through his guitar playing.  We listened…

And then, we ate a tasty meal of chicken, vegetables, and homemade ginger beer. We talked about the legacy of Nelson Mandela, the current government, football (soccer) club standings, and the promise of South Africa. We laughed at the similarities of cultures all over the globe and grew closer as people do when sharing a meal together.

Afterward, our African Jazz Safari experience continued when we went to another home and met Ongx Mona – a guitarist and voice that strikes you at your core (apologies up front for the poor lighting in the video)…

We sang with Ongx, danced (although my dance moves pale in comparison to the innate rhythm of the folks in Guguletu), laughed and joyfully hoped for greater peace and love in the world.

It was an extraordinary night and wonderful start to my week in Cape Town!

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