So there I was chilling at the North Sea Jazz festival wondering where all these well-heeled black folk come from? The place was jam packed with the previously struggling, currently advantaged and riding the wave of economic empowerment, smooth-styled, jazz-loving bourgeoisie. Not a group often seen on the streets of Cape Town, nor found too frequently in the suburbs, North or South. Yes the airport must have been cuh-ray-zee! I'm glad I didn't have to fly anywhere. So I come to be holding a beer and swaying in front of Stanley Clark and my mind starts to wander. Soon enough, I have a theory. The North Sea Jazz Festival must be a kickback for all those ruling party civil servants and government officials locked down in Parliament in Cape Town. A type of musical pay-off for having to live with the cliquey suburban descendants of the British colony, in the Southern Suburbs, and the Boers who were too scared to trek, in the Northern suburbs. Yes the North Sea Jazz festival is the one weekend when the struggle comes to town, and the civil servants love it dearly. Jazz, the music of empowered revolutionaries. Tapping a fore-finger into the palm of his hand, I am informed by the smiling, baldheaded black man next to me, that this is indeed the shit, right here. Uh huh. Tap-tap-tap. Stanley Clarke wiggling his fingers all over that bass guitar. And damn, it feels alright in Cape Town when the New South Africa comes to visit. Makes me feel like I have a country worth being proud of. When I listen to my man, Dollar Brand, tinkling the keys in that familial way that sounds simultaneously like the song of freedom and an advert for our Iand, I hear Mama Makeba's hot breath on the mic, shhh-shhhh! Jonathan Butler's butter guitar licks and Tumi Molekane's voice carried to the crowd like lyrical surfers on the waves of bass, 'we fell in love with the instruments of our liberation. The, uh, struggle continues. The, uh, struggle continues...' And the crowd rocks gently like a boat when the tide comes in.

Then I flip back to reality, shake off the haze of nostalgia, but cling to the rhythm of '94 and start to walk my way through the venue, nodding at leather Lenin caps on the heads of round men in silk shirts, hug old friends from Jozi, like it's a Jozi reunion or something, walk passed women with braids, their kids at the bar at the back of the Bassline stage, where I'm going. Funky dreadlocks sipping beer, hair like Stonehenge, immaculately hewn menhirs of hair, square edges like the Boondocks, pants too low, boxers and butt-crack peaking out, pierced ears and a sweatband on the left upper arm. Cool yo. While uncles groove the old school noodle jazz next door.

Drink more beer, toke on a passing joint and watch the guy two rows down suddenly get rushed by two white guys on security detail in yellow jackets and escorted out the door for toking the same joint. Don't forget you still in Cape Town, boy. Damn that was close. Breathe. Sip beer. Keep those thoughts away from your buzz. Sway to UK MC Ty. Vacillating between feeling it and missing it. I pull the schedule out of my back pocket and search for another gig. I recognise none of the names. Except Moses Molelekwa. But he's dead so what's this? Oh, it's a stage named after the guy. The experimental stage. A dude called Soweto Kinch from the UK played there already. Sorry I missed it, heard it was tight. Appropriate our ghetto, why don't you. Something Soweto youth should get indignant about. Certainly white, liberal, North Jozi will. Anyway, shrug, sway and sip beer. I start the hypothesising and before long am thinking about brother Gito, the self-taught, Mozambican bass guitar maestro so recently shot dead at night in central Jozi for nothing but his wallet. I wonder where his stage is? I look at the Moses Molelekwa Stage and I start to feel some of that indignation rise. Burrp. Excuse me. I mean are we so desperate for a jazz martyr to name a stage after? Is that Moses? The man who police reports say first shot his wife then hung himself. What a hero. And I never heard one person mention Gito Baloi. No minute of silence before the performance. No laments or requiems for the recently murdered jazz legend. Yes, that's what he was. And he's not the first musician to die violently this year, 2004, remembering Mafikizolo's Tebza and MC Devious. At least we no longer have to invent our martyrs.

And then it's over. The music subsides, I rub shoulders with rastas, YFM and Kaya DJs. I smile at pretty girls with bad weaves and wonder what's wrong with real hair? I do more hugs and complicated, improvised handshakes with old friends, slink out back to my car parked on the street alongside the Audi hatchbacks and the new Golf GTIs. I wonder when I'll see this crowd again in Cape Town, tip the Congolese car guard a few Rands and ride the road back home, quickly passed the ad hoc rows of zinc shanties that besiege the city.

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