Exhibitions paying tribute to SA’s musical heritage

THE Alliance Française Southern Africa, with support from the French institute South Africa (IFAS) and the Samro foundation, will present September Jive, encompassing two exhibitions which are a tribute to the South African musical heritage.

The exhibitions will open at the Ann Bryant Art Gallery on Friday, August 4 at 6.30pm.

The first, called SA Musical Graphics: Classics and Collectables, features 150 of the most interesting, important and beautiful sleeve covers, with a special focus on truly South African designs, which could have emanated only from this country.

REFLECTION: This Thandiswa Mazwai album cover is one of the many that will be on display to offer a reflection on the political, social and musical history of South Africa Picture: SUPPLIED

The selection was made by a group consisting of collectors and designers – Siemon Allen, Rob Allingham, Caroline Hillary and Molemo Moiloa.

SA Musical Graphics: Classics and Collectables offers a reflection on the political, social and musical history of South Africa through the design of album sleeves.

Starting in 1957 with Boeremusiek, it follows the history of the South African musical landscape, up to 2016, showing the emergence of new genres and political demands through the lens of the music industry.

At the opening, journalist Percy Mabandu said: “Each album tells a story”.

As a whole, this exhibition illustrates the history of the country, as told by musicians, from King Kong to Soul Brothers, Margaret Singana to Voëlvry, Lucky Dube to Zonke.


In My Favourite Sounds music and media personalities speak out about their favourite tracks and albums. The exhibition consist of 47 photo portraits (shot by Dwayne Kapula) of music and media personalities, accompanied by short interviews about their favourite South African music and explaining why they chose it. This exhibition is the work of photographer Kapula.

It is a South African project also touring nationwide, coming to East London after the Grahamstown Festival.

This exhibition is a testimony of the power of music, how some artists can have a life-changing effect on some of their listeners. It is also about transmission, influence and cross-pollination between genres and great artists.

Rob Allingham served as the archive manager at the Gallo Record Company from 1990 to 2008, overseeing a physical archive that is the largest on the African continent as well as a back catalogue that collectively comprises approximately 85% of all the recordings made in South Africa in the 20th century.

Siemon Allen is a South African artist whose research-based studio practice reflects a number of distinct yet interconnected processes where overlapping interests in aesthetics and politics lead to works loaded with historical significance and visual magnitude.

Caroline Hillary has been active in the music industry for over 22 years, beginning her journey, like most, in a music retail environment, breaking into a major label and eventually starting her own company.

Molemo Moiloa is director of the Visual Arts Network of South Africa (Vansa), and one half of artists’ collaborative MADEYOULOOK. She has degrees in fine arts and social anthropology, writes sometimes, and is interested in everyday socio-political imaginary.

The exhibition is open to all.


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