Events

14 Cultural Events You Can't Miss this December in South Africa

OkayAfrica's guide to must-see events during South Africa's festive season.

South Africans will tell you that December is not just a month, it's an entire lifestyle. From beginning to end, it's about being immersed in a ton of activity with friends and family as well as any new folk you meet along the way. Whether you're looking to turn up to some good music or watch some provocative theater, our guide to just 14 cultural events happening in South Africa this December, has something for everyone.


Abantu Book Festival

South Africa's biggest book festival for Black people is back this year and the lineup of writers is spectacular. From Zakes Mda and Mohale Mashigo to the likes of Chris Abani, Mona Eltahawy and others, it promises to be yet another genuinely engaging event for the Black literary community. Read more about the event here.

Currently ongoing and will run until the 8th of December 2019 at the Eyethu Lifestyle Center in Soweto, Johannesburg. Entry is R20.

Corona Sunsets Festival

If you're looking for a good time and equally good vibes, then this one's for you. There will be a ton of talent performing at this music festival including Shimza, DJ Maphorisa, Kabza De Small, Prince Kaybee, Jazzi Disciplesand several others.

Will take place on the 7th of December at the Ground in Muldersdrift, Johannesburg. Purchase tickets here.

​Mzanzi Pride

Via Flickr Creative Commons.

This annual event brings together members of the LGBT community and their allies to raise awareness around the issues facing the marginalized community. The march will begin at 11 A.M. and there will be an exhibition in honor of the late gay activist, Simon Nkoli, among other activities.

Will take place on the 7th of December at Mary Fitzgerald Square, Johannesburg.

Revolt and Evolve: Theater Activism Against Gender-based Violence

This year has been a particularly difficult one for South African women as gender-based violence, rape and femicide have all been on a sharp rise. This event will feature artists such as Nelisiwe Xaba, Kwanele Finch, Joseph Komani among several others who will use art as part of a collective effort to raise awareness around the abuse of both women and children.

Currently ongoing and will run until the 10th of December at the South African State Theater, Pretoria. Most events are free although those with a cost can be paid for at the specific event.

The Lion King Live in Concert

This year saw the innovative remake of the beloved Disney classic. If you're still looking to indulge in the nostalgia for just a little longer, then you're in luck. You can watch the live version of The Lion King on the stage at the Sun Arena.

Will take place from the 10th to the 12th of December at Sun Arena at Time Square Casino, Pretoria. Purchase tickets here.

​Black Coffee at Shimmy Beach Club

Join talented South African DJ Black Coffee as he carries out his summer residency at Shimmy Beach for the fourth time. With the internationally renowned "king of house music", the event promises to be an epic time of great music and equally great vibes.

Will take place from the 13th December to the 5th of January 2020 at Shimmy Beach Club, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town. Purchase tickets here.

Music is King Concert

Prepare to have the time of your life at this epic music festival. This time around the event will be hosted in both Johannesburg and Durban and will feature local talent including AKA, Jazzi Disciples, Moonchild Sanelly, Black Coffee and more.

Will take place in Johannesburg on the 14th of December at the Ticketpro Dome and on the 15th of December at the Kings Park Outer Fields in Durban. Purchase tickets here.

Nubian Music Festival

This music festival boasts a spectacular lineup of Black South African talent including Amanda Black, Ringo Madlingozi, Thandiswa Mazwai, Lira, Mafikizolo, The Soil and so many more. All we can say is that you can't afford to miss this one!

Will take place on the 15th of December the Eagle Waters Resort, Hartebeespoort, Johannesburg. Purchase tickets here.

Ulundi Maskandi Music Festival

If you thought it's just strictly hip-hop and house music, think again. For all the maskandi fans out there, this one is definitely for you and will feature the likes of Thokozani Langa, Khuzani Mpungose, Igcokama Elisha and several others.

Will take place on the 21st of December of December at the Multipurpose Open Space Ulundi, Zululand. Purchase tickets here.

Ekurhuleni Jazz Festival

What's a festive season without some jazz? If you're looking for some soul-soothing music and mellow vibes then the Ekurhuleni Jazz Festival is where you need to be this December. Enjoy performances by both pioneering and contemporary jazz artists.

Will take place on the 21st of December of December at the Big Top Arena, Carnival City, Johannesburg. Purchase tickets here.

The Lion and the Lamb Musical

The incomparable Dr John Kani takes to the stage in this Christmas special. After a decade since this musical play was originally created by Kani and Barney Simon, Kani reprises his lead role for a performance that vibrantly portrays the life of Jesus.

Will take place on the 22nd of December at the Market Theater, Johannesburg. Purchase tickets here.

Shimza’s One Man Show 2019

DJ Shimza is back with the 11th edition of his grossly popular music show. The musical event promises to be nothing short of phenomenal as the seasoned musician brings his A-game.

Will take place on the 25th of December at Mehlareng Stadium, Johannesburg. Purchase tickets here.

Lady Zamar’s Jingle Jam Party

It's been a spectacular year for Lady Zamar on the music front following the release of her sophomore album Monarch. Now the house/dance singer-songwriter plans to end of the year by bringing the Christmas spirit to her fans.

Will take place on the 25th of December at Sebesong Lifestyle 0411, Johannesburg.Purchase tickets here.

Afropunk

This year's edition of Afropunk promises to be even better than last year's. Solange, Miguel, Masego, Goldlink, Blinky Bill, Sho Madjozi, Burna Boy and several other local and international music heavyweights are set to perform at the music festival. It's the perfect way to usher in the new year if you ask us. Read more about the event here.

Will take place on the 30th to 31st of December at Constitutional Hill, Johannesburg. Purchase tickets here.

News Brief
Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Listen to Burna Boy Feature On Popcaan's New Song 'Aboboyaa'


Renowned dancehall artist Popcaan has released his album Great Is He, via OVO Sound, and it features none other than Burna Boy.


Jamaica's Popcaanhas shared his anticipated album Great Is He, and the body of work features Nigerian superstar Burna Boy on the track "Aboboyaa."

The album showcases the Jamaican musical giant's signature dancehall sound, while also exploring the depth of genre's versatility. In addition to featuring Burna Boy, Great Is He includes features from OVO Sound's boss Drake, Jamaica's Chronic Law, and Toni-Ann Singh, among others.

On "Aboboyaa," the two musical powerhouses merge their signature rhythmic melodies and intonations in a way that is both compelling to listen to on the first listen, and in turn inspires a second and third listen.

Ever since he released his debut album in 2014, Popcaan has become an international dancehall sensation, and his repertoire includes a list of impressive features.

His album Forever, which was released in 2018, debuted at number two on Billboard’s Top Reggae Albums. Commercially, Popcaan has made a mark on the music scene too. His last project FIXTAPE — which included “Twist & Turn,” the mesmerizing dancehall hit featuring Drake and PARTYNEXTDOOR — has garnered over 191 million streams and continues to receive accolades from outlets like Pitchfork, who described the body of work as “a testament to his place at the forefront of the genre.”

"Aboboyaa" is not Popcaan's first international collaboration. In the past, the Jamaican icon has worked with several international music acts including Davido, Jamie xx, Young Thug, Gorillaz, Kano, Jorja Smith and a host of others. He also founded Jamaica’s annual Unruly Festwhich brings stars across the globe to experience Jamaican culture.

Listen to "Aboboyaa" featuring Burna Boy below.

Listen to Popcaan and Burna Boy's "Aboboyaa"

News Brief

Rising Star Khaid Shares New Single ‘Jolie’

Nigerian music newcomer Khaid comes through with a new love song.


Khaidshares "Jolie," an Afro-infused love song that marks his first music release for the year. The record is a rhythmic and melodic offering that is complete with an infectious hook and Khaid's captivating vocals. In the song, Khaid describes his admiration for a girl that he is pursuing, but equally expresses the challenge that he is having getting her attention.

At the age of 12, Khaid, who was born and raised in Ojo in Lagos, Nigeria, began to freestyle and shoot videos in the streets of Ojo, which is where he was eventually discovered and signed by Sydney Walker, the owner of Neville Records, and a prominent Nigerian comedian.

At the beginning of 2022, Neville Records announced Khaid as a new signee, and since then, he has continued to make waves in the Nigerian music industry. His debut single "With You," was released only eight days after the announcement, and went on to become a commercial success. The song became one of the country's top hits, which now has over 3.7 million views on YouTube and 5 million Spotify streams.

Khaid went on to a release a 6-track album called Diversity and continues to push the envelope at only 17-years-old. The young talent has an EP on the way in the near future, and was recently featured on Okay Africa's 12 Nigerian Artists To Watch In 2023.

Listen to Khaid's "Jolie" below

Music
Photo: Nabil Elderkin.

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If you like these music lists, you can also check out our Best Songs of the Month columns following Nigerian, Ghanaian, East African and South African music. If you missed them, check out our music lists for the Best of 2022 here.

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Photo: The Sundance Institute

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The Nigerian American director has long used the tools of his multi-hyphenate trade to expand the ways Africans are seen. Premiering at the Sundance Film Festival, 'Bravo, Burkina!' gives him a larger canvas on which to paint.

Whether it’s employing asylum seekers to model his designs or adding his flair to a piece of pivotal clothing that the late Chadwick Boseman wore in Black Panther, Walé Oyéjidé has always been about using whatever elements he can to push the ways Africans have traditionally been portrayed. What he hinted at in his short film After Migration: Calabria (available on the Criterion Channel), which tells the story of two refugees settling in Italy, he now gets to explore further in the feature debut, Bravo, Burkina!

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