On Sunday 16 February 2014, Cape Town changed forever. The Breathe Sunshine Unity Jam achieved its goal of uniting people through music in a way never seen in the city – bringing people of all ages, races and backgrounds together at Marakana Park in Langa Township. The event attracted a significant white audience, many of whom had never been into a township before, making a positive step to breaking down the psychological barriers that still divide the city.
International German reggae superstar Gentleman had the crowd in frenzy with an energetic, electrifying performance. It was the headliner performer’s first time in South Africa, and his appearance formed part of an African tour supported by the Goethe-Institute. A line-up of talented local artists such as Jeremy Loops, Ifani, Driemanskap, Diloxclusiv ft. Jimmy Dludlu, Trenton and Free Radical, Mighty, Fosta, Youngsta, DJ Realrozanno, Teba, Crosby and West Geez and Mawezza delivered stellar performances, further showcasing the power that music has to unify people.
“We have achieved 20 years of democracy this year, and it is disappointing that the city is still so divided and disconnected. The Breathe Sunshine Unity Jam exceeded my expectations and proved that we can create platforms where people of all races can meet and celebrate our diversity. It has been one of the most inspiring moments of my life,” says Trenton Birch, founder of Black Mango – the social enterprise responsible for the event.
The Unity Jam event was held on the third day of the Breathe Sunshine African Music Conference, which, after a second successful year has firmly cemented itself as one of the most important industry events on the calendar. New additions to the conference this year proved successful, notably an invite-only indaba session that enabled the City of Cape Town to meet with a number of promoters to assess ways of working while also breaking down communication barriers across the city.
The Bridges for Music Electronic Room was hugely popular, as well as the Technical Demonstrations room, hosting Pioneer & Serato, Ableton, Bundi Productions and Akai, showing off some of the world’s most cutting-edge music software and hardware. Workshops backed by SAE Institute provided a platform for young up and coming artists and industry players under the ‘Empowering Your Art’ banner, while back-to-back DJs in the networking lounge ensured that the energy never faltered.
The Unity Jam had social media channels buzzing with positive feedback, setting the scene for an even bigger and better event in 2015.
- Website – http://breathesunshineconference.com/
· Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/BreatheSunshine?fref=ts