Mkizwana Ensemble presents nationally their debut album African Skies


In association with Concerts SA, the Mkizwana Ensemble will be touring nationally to perform their debut album African Skies. Launched at The Orbit (Johannesburg) in July, African Skies will be presented live in selected music venues across the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and Gauteng.

Formed in early 2014, the Mkizwana Ensemble comprises of five gentlemen who have been musicians and friends for several years. Named after musical director, Viwe Mkizwana, the band performs a variety of original compositions jointly arranged by the collective. Viwe himself plays double bass, Ntsikelelo “Jack” Mcwabe trumpet, Malusi Masia tenor saxophone, Africa Mahlangu on alto saxophone and Thapelo Khumisi on keyboard.

Through the combination of keyboard, double bass, trumpet, alto and tenor saxophones the ensemble produces a unique sound and most importantly – Xhosa and other African genres. The ensemble’s organic style of creating and performing aids the adaptability of the young collective.

Having met at the Tshwane University of Technology, the collective has a variety of training ranging from jazz to popular music in addition to various qualifications from the Trinity Guildhall and the Royal School of London. Vast travel experience across African, Asian and European regions has also boosted the band’s understanding and creation of music – the craft which feeds the group’s collective spiritual journey.

In their brief period of being active, the ensemble has performed a variety of gigs both public and private. They also had the pleasure of gracing the Moretele Park Festival addition to performing at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival which bears testament to the ensemble’s passion for performing.

The strong friendship between the five band members feeds into the sentimentality and balance of the fifteen song repertoire which comprises of tunes such as Jack’s She Was Good and Viwe’s dedication to his late brother Zinhle, all included in their debut CD. Since their formation, the ensemble has performed at major events like the Moretele Park Jazz and Standard Bank’s Joy of Jazz Festivals, sharing the stage with world-renowned legends.

Viwe Mkizwana began playing the Classical Double Bass at the prestigious East Rand School of the Arts at the age of seventeen. In 2008 Mkizwana’s love of music led him to the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), where he began his studies in Jazz and earned a Grade 8 Certificate in Double Bass. During his time at TUT he was a member of the TUT Big Band and Footprints Trio Jazz Band. He later went on to manage and perform with Just Friends jazz band and formed the successful Mkizwana Ensemble in 2014. Mkizwana has played with the MIAGI Orchestra, Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra, and KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, and served as the Principal Bassist in the Johannesburg Symphony Orchestra from 2006-2009.

Mkizwana has participated in Joy of Jazz Festival every year since 2010. He is currently the Principal Bassist of the Pretoria-based Gauteng Philharmonic Orchestra. His passion for music has taken him around the country and the world, most recently on a European tour with the prestigious non-profit Music Is a Great Investment (MIAGI) where he was privileged to perform with the MIAGI Orchestra in large concert halls in Amsterdam (The Royal Concertgebouw), Germany (Berlin Philharmonia) and Sweden (King’s Castle). In addition to performing, Mkizwana has experience managing the MIAGI New Skool Orchestra and is currently a Bass Teacher and Orchestral Sectional Instructor at Pretoria High School for Girls.

Mkizwana Ensemble African Skies Tour is supported by the Music Mobility Fund, a funding mechanism administered by Concerts SA which offers opportunities for South African musicians to undertake live music tours.

Concerts SA is a joint South African/Norwegian initiative housed under the auspices of the Stakeholder Hub within the SAMRO Foundation; it receives financial, administrative and technical support from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the SAMRO Foundation and Concerts Norway. Working with musicians, promoters, venue owners and audiences, the project aims to support live music in South Africa by finding and implementing ways to create a vibrant and viable live music circuit. It also aims to develop an interest in and appreciation of live music by showcasing music performances and conducting workshops at schools. For more information please visit our website, follow @ConcertsSA on Twitter at or like us on Facebook at

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Events Listing

Cape Town – The Velvet Lounge

Saturday 19th November – 9pm – No cover charge

Address: 41 Trill Street, Observatory, Cape Town

Contact: 073 927 9613/

Cape Town – Jazz in the Native Yards @ Kwa-Sec

Sunday 20th November – 3pm – R 60

Address: 52 NY 138, Gugulethu, Cape Town

Contact: 060 960 8935 /

Hammanskraal – Tsa Lapeng Music Initiative

Sunday 27th November – 12pm – No cover charge

Address: 2645 Trustfarm Stinkwater, Molefe Makinta Road, Hammanskraal

Contact: 078 647 7320 /

Soweto – Cape Gate MIAGI Centre for Music

Sunday 27th November – 5pm – R50

Address: 05551 Mtembu St, Soweto, 1809

Contact: 011 930 5045 /

Pretoria – High School for Girls

Tuesday 29th November – 1pm – No cover charge

Address: 949 Park St, Pretoria

Contact: 012 430 7341 /

Durban – The Chairman

Saturday 3rd December – 11pm – R 150

Address: 146 Mahatma Gandhi Rd, Durban

Contact: 078 387 1408 /

Durban – Bertoua

Sunday 4th December – 3pm – R 150 (Two-course meal included)

Address: 221A, Musgrave Centre, 115 Musgrave Rd, Durban

Contact:  031 828 1979 /

Pretoria – U-The Space

Saturday 10th December – 6pm – R 50

Address: 146 Minnaar Street, Pretoria

Contact: 076 383 0833 /

Johannesburg – Winnie’s Soul & Jazz Restaurant

Sunday 11th December – 8pm – R 100

Address: Wendywood Shopping Centre, 1 Daphny St, Johannesburg

Contact: 011 656 3059 /

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