Prestigious International Jazz Day 2020 To be Held for the First Time in Africa, Hosted by the City of Cape Town

7 January 2020 International Jazz Day Latest Lifestyle


The City of Cape Town will be infused with the inspiring and healing sounds of jazz in celebration of International Jazz Day in April 2020.

This impactful initiative which focuses on cultural diplomacy will be held for the first time in Africa and explore the theme:

Tracing the Roots and Routes of African Jazz.

23 April 2019, Cape Town, South Africa. South Africa is deeply honoured and excited to be the first African host of International Jazz Day – an initiative of the Herbie Hancock Institute and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Every year, hundreds of jazz musicians from around the globe gather at cities that successfully bid to host the event. Over the years, hosts included: Istanbul, Turkey (2013), Osaka, Japan (2014), Paris, France (2015), Washington DC, USA (2016), Havana, Cuba (2017), St. Petersburg, Russia (2018) and Melbourne, Australia (2019). Cape Town, South Africa is the official host city for April 2020.

UNESCO’s Director-General Audrey Azoulay says: “This decision is a recognition of South Africa’s strong commitment to cultural diplomacy through a high degree of creativity and an outstanding diversity in its programming supported by a large network of partners.”

Spin Foundation, the successful bidders, brought to life Jazz Day South Africa, mobilizing a fast-growing number of jazz lovers in the region, among other arts and cultural diplomacy-related projects.

Expansive collaborations to take Africa even further

Collaborators, stakeholders and partners including the South African Department of Arts and Culture, the Department of Basic Education, the Department of Tourism, tertiary institutions, jazz music educators, music entrepreneurs, the local community as well as many regions on the continent will delve into various programmes that will mark the beginning of a long-term conversation of how this form of music can propel the lives of Africans forward whilst plugging into the global cultural network.

Relevant theme based on cultural heritage

Telling the fascinating story of “Tracing the Roots and Routes of African Jazz” is a way of honouring jazz heritage and making a significant contribution to writing Africa’s cultural history for generations to come. “Roots and routes is the balance between rebelliousness and foresight through the medium and genre of jazz for innovation,” says former President of South Africa and Jazz Day South Africa patron Kgalema Mohlanthe.

In addition to its cultural diplomacy and social cohesion objectives, the Chairperson of the Spin Foundation, Musicologist Motsumi Makhene states: ”The fascinating narrative of the ancestral origins of jazz will be told.

Through learning about and owning our heritage, innovatively telling and preserving the story of Africa’s powerful influence.” This mammoth event is also set to stimulate and boost travel and tourism in South Africa and the region.

Empowering Dialogue on Cultural IP and Curriculum Development

Brenda Sisane, Executive Director for this project explains: “We have based our programmes on expansive and deep community involvement as well as sustainable legacy projects that aim to empower the region.”

International Jazz Day 2020 in Cape Town will offer an immersive experience, with unique programmes such as the African Jazz and Lifestyle Market and a meticulously curated Art Exhibition in line with the theme “Tracing the Roots and Routes of African Jazz”. Furthermore, in-depth Round Table discussions on cultural Intellectual Property as well as Curriculum Development to tell history through music will see Africa lead in these areas. The culmination includes the Global All-Star Concert, an International Jazz Day tradition, where the brilliant sounds of jazz luminaries will echo through streets of the Mother City and the world.

Information enquiries: jazzday2020@jazzdaysa.co.za

Media enquiries: dileseng@ultracomm.co.za



Since 2011, International Jazz Day is celebrated annually on 30 April across the globe.

The day pays tribute to the art form of jazz, its capacity to bring people together, and its power to promote dialogue, freedom of expression, as well as respect for human rights and diversity.

The 2020 All Star-Global Concert will unite the most popular and iconic jazz musicians from Africa and around the world and will be organized alongside school programmes, master classes, and local, national and regional music and educational events.

The International Jazz Day celebration engages artists, educators and audiences worldwide. It is led by UNESCO and the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz, together with its Chairman, legendary jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock, who serves as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue.

In 2019 Melbourne, Australia was the global host for International Jazz Day.


, ,