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July 2017. Images and story provided by Caroline Mbeka.

Making Music for Madiba

Smile 90.4FM Gets 67 City Buskers Making Music for Madiba Day

The Mother City’s fastest growing radio station is launching a unique commemoration of Mandela Day this year. Smile 90.4FM is sending out 67 buskers to play 67 minutes of music in honour of Madiba at 67 locations around Cape Town, in a Making Music for Madiba event on Tuesday 18 July - the City’s first mass busking event. Vernon Kirsten, owner of - one of the largest Busking organisations in the world and one that works to support buskers, many of whom are living on the streets - has gathered some of his buskers to participate.

Young and old, amateur and pro, famous and obscure, they are taking to the streets at 12h00 on Mandela Day, and will even include some of Cape Town’s most loved bands, such as Majozi, Michael Lowman, Jarrod Aston from the band Cinema and Craig Hinds from Watershed. All proceeds raised by the buskers will be donated to a City music development programme that will enable children from under-resourced communities to access music tuition and musical instruments.

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With his trademark Madiba dance moves, his love of the unifying force that is music and his outspoken support of the great value of musicians in our lives, there’s no doubt that the idea of 67 musicians bringing smiles to the faces of South Africans is a positive and heart-warming celebration of the absolute essence of Nelson Mandela.

Internationally, Mandela Day is celebrated on the 18th of July, Madiba’s birthday; and 67 minutes of service represents his 67 years of devotion to South Africa and all its people. The aim of this United Nations day of honouring Nelson Mandela is to inspire people around the world to keep his phenomenal legacy of service to others alive and kicking.

“...Music is, of course, the cornerstone of our business, making this Mandela Day project one that is very close to our hearts....” - Clive Ridgway, Smile 90.4FM Programme Director

We love the concept of service here at Smile 90.4FM,” says Programme Director, Clive Ridgway. “Approaching what you do in a spirit of service elevates the simplest task into something beautiful and powerful. Music is, of course, the cornerstone of our business, making this Mandela Day project one that is very close to our hearts.” Smile 90.4FM will be broadcasting a special 67-minute programme of music, interviews and archive audio while the buskers are on the street on Mandela Day. They will also be crossing to busking locations to let Capetonians in on the action, and encourage participation at their nearest location.

For those wanting to catch the Making Music for Madiba magic live, each participating busker can be identified by a Smile 90.4FM poster and bucket for collecting loose change. Buskers can be found in many areas across Cape Town, such as the Waterfront, Gardens Centre, Howard Centre in Pinelands, Cape Gate, Burgundy Square in Milnerton, Observatory Hall Island, Ottery Hypermarket, Bergvliet, long tree café in Bergvliet, Farm Village in Noordhoek, Fish Hoek Main, Jan Marais Park in Stellenbosch, and more.