The Featured Artist at the 2020 National Arts Festival is indigenous musician Madosini, who has kept alive the tradition of Xhosa music.

Madosini: Featured Artist 2020 National Arts Festival

The National Arts Festival annually pays tribute to an artist who has made a significant mark on the country’s arts landscape. “Madosini is our national treasure. She has kept alive the tradition of Xhosa music rooted in oral tradition. We are proud to feature her sonic and cultural legacy at this year’s National Arts Festival,” says NAF Artistic Director Rucera Seethal.

Madosini performs at the 2020 National Arts Festival

As the Featured Artist at the 2020 National Arts Festival, Madosini will perform in two collaborative performances at the National Arts Festival in Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown), which runs from 25 June to 5 July 2020. Her first will see Madosini performing with members of her traditional ensemble from Libode; and her second will be a kind of thanksgiving to her supporters and for her good health. This performance will include her friend Pedro playing the traditional ixilongo flute as well as various special guest musicians. Madosini will also present a musical storytelling performance for children and several bow-playing workshops to arts educators and musicians.

Madosini was born in 1943 in the Eastern Cape, growing up without formal schooling. She only speaks isiXhosa, though in many ways she has superseded translation through her musical language.

Madosini has performed internationally for many years including at WOMAD festivals where she was the first artist to be recorded and documented as part of their Musical Elders Project. Over the years she has performed with renowned artists Ringo, Thandiswa Maswai, Derek Grepper, Hilton Schilder, Gilberto Gil and many more. The overwhelming support she received from South Africans during a trip to France in 2019 to facilitate her safe return home after health issues was testament to the place she occupies in our national identity and heritage.

Madosini excited to be in eRhini (Makhanda)

Madosini says of the accolade: “Ukuva kwam ngokuza kwi Festival, kundenze ndavuya kakhulu okwe thole lincanca kunina. Ukuba bendinendlela ngendivuka ngomso ndiye eRhini. Ndingxamele ukunifundisa loMrhube nendlela esasiphila ngayo thina endingayivanga ngamntu, ephilwe ndim lo. Ngoku sasibancinci thina sasingavubisi umphokoqo ngamasi, sasivubisa ngamavilo,kodwa nina aniwazi amavilo. Ndakunibalisela ukunibona kwam eRhini.” [“Being told that I’m coming to the Festival has made me happy like a cub feeding from its mother. If I had my way, I would wake up tomorrow and go to eRhini (Makhanda). I can’t wait to teach you umhrube and about lived experiences of our cultural practices that you don’t practise anymore. During my youth we did not use sour milk for umphokoqo (African salad), we used amavilo, which you probably don’t know what they are, I will tell you about it when I see you in eRhini (Makhanda).”]

Previous winners

Previous National Arts Festival Featured Artists are:

2019: Bernie Searle, visual artist

2018: Mamela Nyamza, dancer and choreographer

2017: Neo Muyanga, musician and composer

2016: Lara Foot, playwright and director

2015: Satire (The genre was chosen as the programme centrepiece)

2014: Sylvaine Strike, actor and director

2013: Mike van Graan, playwright and director

Who: Madosini: Featured Artist at the 2020 National Arts Festival

Where and when: 2020 National Arts Festival, Makhanda from 25 June to 5 July 2020