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South Africa: live performances in Johannesbourg

Emerging from enforced slumber: Live performances breathe new life into South Africa

As an avid follower of the arts, the restrictions enforced by lockdown left a hole which was extremely hard to fill. We faced with cities minus the buzz; empty streets and beaches; businesses, predominantly the hospitality and arts industries, facing closure and so much more. It was a Shirley Valentine moment where the walls became our companions. However for pandemic reasons in South Africa like anywhere else, the authorities canceled the live performances.

Sure, it wasn’t only in South Africa… it was a worldwide phenomenon! However, we are so blessed with our open spaces, abundance of fauna, flora, wildlife and a magical mix of heritages (12 official languages including sign language) that the pain of having to remain indoors or wear a mask; not breathe the magnificent fresh air or even socialise; and, most of all, not attend any live performances was incredibly hard to endure.

Africa, and South Africa in particular, is known for its vivacity. It is a cauldron of talent – music, theatre, art and culinary delights to name but some. Prior to Covid, our film industry was burgeoning too. We have 9 provinces, each with its own identity depending on the heritage of its inhabitants.
Touching down in South Africa and stepping onto the tarmac, the heat of the African sun and the vibrancy of the welcome, introduces elements which capture one’s soul. However, experiencing the inherent talent of our population will leave you hankering for over one visit to our magnificent country.

Live perfomances in Joburg

Jazz line-up @DoppioZeroSA Rosebank

Situated at The Firs, Rosebank, 5-minutes walk from the Rosebank Gautrain Station, DoppioZero offers more than a sumptuous, affordable menu and alfresco dining. The Jazz Room restructured to accommodate a smaller audience and ensure social distancing. One of the first to react to the changes in restrictions and constantly adapting, they have planned a line-up which will appeal to all aficionados. Sip a cocktail and/or dine – it makes for a superb evening’s entertainment. Booking is essential as seating is limited!

Every Friday evening there is a live Jazz performance at DoppioZero (the Firs Shopping Centre). Madala Kunene, is a highly-talented guitarist from the province of KwaZulu-Natal who flew up to perform in the Jazz Room.

Madala Kunene, one of the live performances in Johannesbourg in South Africa


Although it’s Eurocentric, the Festive Season pantomime is a treat of note and Janice Honeyman’s productions are a laugh-a-minute. Taking place on the Nelson Mandela Theatre stage at the Joburg Theatre (5 Nov – 24 Dec), ‘Cinderella’ emerges from enforced hibernation.
Janice states they will retain the double entendres and audience participation, but will make the most of modern technology, lighting and visual effects.
Desmond Dube and Ben Voss take on the roles of stepsisters – Fanny Flatulina and Flossie Flemerina – for the Dames have never been determined by gender. For further information visit Joburg Theatre Janice Honeyman’s Pantomime Cinderella

South Africa live performances: Cinderella
Photo by @enroCPics

Arts Alive Johannesburg 2021

The SA Hip Hop Awards (17 November). This glamorous affair, with guests encompassing the who’s who in the South African Arts communities. It takes place at the Lyric Theatre, Gold Reef City – a ‘must see’ venue for visitor to Johannesburg, where the history of the city and the discovery of gold is chronicled.

Indigenous Gospel Festival Sat 27 – Sun 28 Nov. The Clap, Tap and AmaZion genres are a sight to behold. For those who enjoy acappella, we advise you the harmonious voices of isicathamiya (popularised by Ladysmith Black Mambazo). For further info, However, if you want to know more about live performances in Johannesbourg, take a look at Arts Alive Johannesbourg.

Festival of Lights at the Joburg Zoo

The Joburg Theatre, in association with the Johannesburg Zoo, will be presenting the annual Festival of Lights from 25 November.The recreation of the animals is life-size. They will illuminated will entrance all visitors at the zoo as they meander through the precinct. For further info 

South Afrioca live performances in Joburg festival of lights Zoo
Photo by @enroCPics

Artisan Alley Handcraft Christmas Fair @The Jack Rose

The Festive Season and the giving of gifts go hand-in-hand. This year, for the first time, The Jack Rose Hotel (10 Tyrwhitt, Rosebank) will be hosting a Fair (25 Nov – 27 Nov) featuring handcrafted gifts which are one of a kind. In addition, Charities and Ngos will benefit from the proceeds. For instance, the San Salvador Home for Intellectually Challenged Women has a weaving room with looms which create exquisite quality woven products from shawls to place mats… and this is but one of the exhibitors. Buskers, entertainment and more guarantee that these are dated to be diarise’d. For further information, visit The Jack Rose.


This is but the tip of the iceberg. Africa and in particular South Africa has so much to offer the visitor. From the buzz of the city to the solitude of its beaches; KwaZulu-Natal, with its warm Indian Ocean tides or Cape Town on the other side where the cold Atlantic Ocean laps at its shores – each provide uniquely indelible experiences in nature and the arts.
However, if you are looking for an extremely different art experience, there are rock paintings stretching back into the aeons of time which can be discovered by traversing mountain trails and visiting caves well off the beaten path. Or perhaps it’s the stalactites and stalagmites which call to you from the Cradle of Mankind, but that’s an article for another day.

Johannesbourg Jacarandas trees

In conclusion, if you want to know more about South Africa its culture and its live performances, take a look at The Jack Rose. In the photo below you can see the Jacarandas blooming. Within a 5km radius of the Jack Rose you can choose from the serenity and beauty of the tree-lined streets or  hustle and bustle of the Malls. The Gautrain station is a mere 5 minute cab drive or 10 minute stroll. 

However, if you want to know more about the culture of other places, look a tour Blog. 

Author: Ali Gordon

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