Radical Jazz: A South African Model for Resistance & Revolution Through Music

None at Strand Bookstore

Fri, Feb 10 at 7 p.m.   |   90 minutes

This event is an Olio and a concert in one.

This Olio focuses on the role that jazz musicians have played in shaping radical liberation politics and the liberation politics that have in turn shaped jazz in South Africa. Sure, jazz isn't listened to by every revolutionary but the spirit that drives the music is revolutionary and many musicians and artists have used their voices to create a social scene for resistance to flourish.

South African jazz has always had its own trajectory within the jazz tradition. From the mining hostels in the 1800’s to the dance halls of Apartheid-era Soweto; the mixing of Arabic, Malay, Khoi and San ancestry in the carnival troupes of the Cape; the musical styles of Goema, Marabi, Mbaqanga and Samba; the influence of John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk’s jazz scene in New York; and the free jazz movements of the 60’s and 70’s; all helped shape the rich tradition of South African jazz. Musicians like Zim Ngqawana, the Blue Notes and the more recent Amanda Freedom Ensemble have strong links to what is happening socially while maintaining a firm grip on the jazz tradition. The coexistence of social issues with the musical tradition, is the essence of jazz to many people.

The past few years have seen student uprisings across South Africa. At the heart of these uprisings is the fact that for most people life in South Africa did not change much from the Apartheid days. These uprisings are driving a movement aimed at dismantling structural racism, patriarchy, and the exploitation of workers by neoliberal capitalism.

* Performance to follow the class*

Musician and activist William Parker will join forces with South African musicians Kesivan Naidoo, Abraham Mennen, Lesedi Ntsane and Brooklyn born Dan Kurfirst in a performance following the lecture.

A profile exhibition of past and current South African based musicians, artists and activists will be on display as well!

Teacher: Sean Jacobs
Venue: Strand Bookstore

What is Think Olio?


Think Olio is here to put the liberation back into the liberal arts.

Classically, the liberal arts, were the education considered essential for a free person to take an active part in civic life. To counter a humanities that has been institutionalized and dehumanized we infuse critical thinking, openness, playfulness, and compassion into our learning experience.

Read more about our mission, our story, and how we are doing this.

Scenius Membership

If Friday night lectures, museum field trips, and living room salons sound like your kind of thing, then you've found your people. We can't wait to welcome you to the Think Olio Scenius. More info


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Olio: A miscellaneous collection of art and literature.