Makeba’s legacy thrills audience

The small space of Saint’s Bistro Café became even more intimate when about 100 people braved the cold in Grahamstown on Friday night to watch husband and wife team Zenzi Makeba-Lee and Afrika Mkhize perform.

Zenzi Makeba Lee remembered her grandmother Miriam Makeba as she performed songs from her album and from her grandmother’s album Picture: SIBONGILE NGALWA

The granddaughter of the late Miriam Makeba and the son of jazz musician Themba Mkhize, Makeba-Lee and Mkhize treated guests to a jazz experience like no other.

Singer Makeba-Lee shared the stage with piano maestro Mkhize, bass guitarist Michael Phillips, drummer Lungile Kunene and Lindelani Lee on percussion.

Young and old, comprising a multitude of nationalities, many perhaps drawn by Makeba-Lee and Mkhize’s aristocratic musical pedigree, enjoyed the performance.

From Makeba-Lee’s first note, there were echoes of her grandmother “Mama Africa”, although while Miriam Makeba is known as the “Empress of African song”, Makeba-Lee has forged her path in jazz.

The audience was in awe of Mkhize’s skill, and heard songs such as Bandijongile and Ingwe’ Emabalabala, Miriam Makeba’s Malaika, and an original song, I’m in Love, inspired by Makeba-Lee’s time in New York.

And it looks like the next generation of music fans will also become familiar with the name Mkhize, as the couple’s nine-year-old son, Kwame Mkhize, delivered a rendition of Ceelo Green’s Crazy to much applause.

Makeba-Lee ended the show with African favourites Pata-Pata and Aluta Continua, which had the audience on their feet.