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10 Cultural Events You Can't Miss this June in South Africa

OkayAfrica's guide to must-see events happening in South Africa this June.

June is Youth Month in South Africa and it promises to be lit AF. South Africans are undeniably spoiled for choice as our exciting guide will show you. From comedy shows, powerful theatrical productions to performances by the country's finest musicians, June promises to deliver a little bit of something for everybody.

Take a look at the 10 cultural events you can't afford to miss below.


Juliet Cullinan Standard Bank Wine Festival

To all the wine lovers, this one is definitely for you. This also goes for those who've been thinking about venturing into the world of merlot and pinotage wines. You have the opportunity to access some of the most exclusive wines in the country and you get to chat to a number of expert cell masters about all things wine. Bottoms up.


Will take place at Summer Place in Melville, Johannesburg on 4th and 5th June. Purchase tickets here.

Encounters International Documentary Festival

A directive from the best film festivals in the world, Encounters will be screening a diverse range of this year's critically acclaimed documentaries. From documentaries looking at runway fashion to conspiracy theories, racism and even a tribute to the great Fela Kuti, this festival will only be delivering the very best the world of film has to offer.


Will run from 7-16th June at The Bioscope in Maboneng, Johannesburg. Purchase tickets here.

Blacks Only Cabinet Reshuffle

The Blacks Only Comedy show is undoubtedly the most anticipated comedy show in the country. Now in its 16th year, this year's show will take the audience through the controversial cabinet reshuffle and the nation's political woes. With comedy god David Kau as the host, the show will certainly not disappoint. Sifiso Nene, Celeste Ntuli and Conrad Koch are just some of the comedians who'll have you in stitches and your sides hurting.


Will take place at Montecasino's Teatro on 7th June. Purchase tickets here.

The Crucifixion of Amaqgwirha

At at time when South Africa is dealing with the terrifying rise in the abductions of girls, this theatrical production tells the story of four young friends–all girls–who are desperate to find one of their missing friends. They also have to confront the men who stand in their way. Using indigenous folk tales and shadow puppetry to bring the story to life, this promises to be a worthwhile show.

Will run from 14-16th June at Civic Boulevard, Johannesburg. Purchase tickets here.

Soweto International Jazz Festival

Who doesn't love some good ol' jazz? Take a walk down memory lane and enjoy African storytelling told through the mellow sounds of incredible instrumentals and vocals. Celebrate the beauty of music and both the veterans and contemporaries of the genre in the heart of Soweto.

Will run from 14-16th June at GOG Soweto Gardens in Johannesburg. Purchase tickets here.

Yvonne Chaka Chaka and various artists for World Refugee Day

Veteran musician and BET's Global Good Star Yvonne Chaka Chaka along with jazz artist Sibongile Khumalo and a number of other artists will be performing to raise awareness for refugees. Partnering with organisations such as the Turquoise Harmony Institute and Nelson Mandela Foundation, this will definitely be a memorable evening in support of a worthy cause.

Will take place at Linder Auditorium in Parktown, Johannesburg on 21st June. Purchase tickets here.

National Arts Festival

National Arts Festival, 2010 via Flickr Creative Commons

This is irrefutably the biggest cultural event to take place in the country. An annual festival, the National Arts Festival includes everything from musical performances, dance, theater to art and comedy. Featured shows will include the likes of Afro-pop group Mafikizolo and comedian Dylan Moran.

Will run from 27th June to 7 July in Makhanda, Grahamstown. Open to the public for the most part but some shows require ticket purchases. Click here for more information.

The Greatest Love of All: A Tribute to Whitney Houston

Jens-Ulrich Koch/Getty Images

The talented Belinda Davids will be bringing Whitney Houston's musical legacy to the stage with mind-blowing performances of some of the late singer's greatest hits. Nostalgic already? We don't blame you. Do yourself a favor and go and celebrate the magical experience complete with a live band and dancers.


Will run from 05-28th June at Joburg Theater. Purchase tickets here.

Khehla Chepape Makgato Studio Exhibition

The talented Khehla Chepape Makgato will be giving the public an opportunity to view over a decade's worth of work. In a reflective body entitled The Rituals, and inspired by the 2012 Marikana massacre, Makgato explores the sacred relationship between animals and the rituals performed by Black people in an attempt to communicate with their ancestors. Recently, the artist has been using birds to document parts of his childhood.

Will open on the 29th June at Constitution Hill, Johannesburg. Open to the public.

DJ Shimza’s One-Man Show

If you're looking to just turn the fuck up then DJ Shimza's annual one-man show is it. As in previous years, the musical event promises to be absolutely packed and full of good vibes. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of his show, the seasoned DJ promises to bring nothing but his A-game.

Will take place at Zone 6 Venue in Diepkloof, Soweto on 29th June. Purchase tickets here.

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Watch the First Episode of Flame’s Documentary Series ‘Welcome To My Life’

Flame takes fans behind the scenes in his new documentary series.

From interviews to smoking sessions, performances, studio sessions and a visit to the hair salon, Flame gives fans a glimpse into his life and adventures.

The South African hip-hop artist and producer shared the first episode of an ongoing documentary series titled Welcome To My Life. The first episode, which he shared today, shows Flame and his affiliates—the likes of Ecco, Mellow and others—going about their business.

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uSanele Releases a New Project ‘uMvelase’ Featuring ASAP Shembe, Windows 2000, Manelisi and Others

Listen to uSanele's new project 'uMvelase.'

South African hip-hop artist uSanele's recently released project is titled uMvelase. "This project," says the artist, "is in honor of my father and family, abakwa Mthembu; all my siblings, extended family and my roots in the heart of KZN, kwaNongoma. It is a calling—if you will—a completion of my journey and all things coming full circle."

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Photo courtesy of CSA Global.

In Conversation with Congolese NBA Player Emmanuel Mudiay: 'I want more African players in the NBA.'

The Utah Jazz player talks about being African in the NBA, supporting basketball in the DRC and how 'everybody knows about Burna Boy'.

Inspired by his basketball-playing older brothers, by second grade, Emmanuel Mudiay already knew that he wanted to play in the American National Basketball Association. Then in 2001 his family, fleeing the war in Democratic Republic of Congo, sought asylum in the United States.

In America, Mudiay saw basketball as a way for him to improve his situation. After impressive high school and college careers, he moved to China to play pro ball. Picked 7th overall in the 2015 NBA draft, the now 23-year-old guard has made a name for himself this season coming off the bench for the Utah Jazz.

Mudiay attests to the sport having changed not only his life but that of his siblings. Basketball gave them all a chance at a good education and the opportunity to dream without conditions. Now he wants to see other talented African players make it too.

We caught up with him to talk about his experience as an African player in the NBA, his hopes for basketball on the African continent and who he and his teammates jam out to in their locker rooms.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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University lecturer and activist Doctor Stella Nyanzi (L) reacts in court as she attends a trial to face charges for cyber-harassment and offensives communication, in Kampala, on April 10, 2017. (Photo by GAEL GRILHOT/AFP via Getty Images)

Jailed Ugandan Activist, Stella Nyanzi, Wins PEN Prize for Freedom of Expression

The outspoken activist, who is currently serving a prison sentence for a poem she wrote about the president's mother's vagina, won for her resistance "in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her."

Stella Nyanzi, the Ugandan academic, activist, and vocal critic of President Yoweri Museveni has been awarded the 2020 Oxfam Novib/PEN International award for freedom of expression, given to writers who "continue to work for freedom of expression in the face of persecution."

Nyanzi is currently serving a 15 month sentence for "cyber harassment" after she published a poem in which she wrote that she wished "the acidic pus flooding Esiteri's (the president's mother) vaginal canal had burn up your unborn fetus. Burn you up as badly as you have corroded all morality and professionalism out of our public institutions in Uganda."

According to the director of PEN International, Carles Torner, her unfiltered outspokenness around the issues facing her country is what earned her the award. "For her, writing is a permanent form of resistance in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her," said Torner at the award ceremony.

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