Culture in Africa particularly with respect to a group of people or community is often marked significantly and expressed in the form of certain rites, processions or festivals. As it is one of our major highlights here on Power of Africa to constantly espouse some of the thrilling festival sceneries happening everywhere across the Motherland, we would be taking a trip down south to Cape Town in the land of Madiba where jazz music originally not indigenous to Africa has found expression here on our shores and continued to attract international zest to our brand of African music.

The Cape Town International Jazz Festival (CTIJF) is an annual music festival held in Cape Town, South Africa. It was first held in 2000 and is recognized as the fourth largest jazz festival in the world, and the largest jazz festival on the African continent. In fact, it is often referred to as "African Grandest of Gatherings".

Rashid Lombard, Co-founder CTIJF

Founded by jazz enthusiast Billy Domingo and photo journalist Rashid Lombard, the festival first began as part of a partnership with the organizers of North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands. It was not until 2005 after a breach in partnership that the festival was renamed to what is officially now known as Cape Town International Jazz Festival.

The festival has grown since it first started in 2000, and as a result, attendance has also grown from 14,000 concert goers in 2000 to 34,000 concert goers in 2013. From its inception up until 2003, the event was held at the Good Hope Centre but it outgrew the venue. As a result, the Cape Town International Convention Centre has been the host of the festival since 2004.

Billy Domingo, Co-founder CTIJF

The event which often takes place at the end of March each year, consists of live performances from over 40-plus international and African artists over 2 days across 5 stages. For those who love music, it is a festival of note, one where they get to experience some of their favourite musicians playing to full houses.

Unlike its Dutch counterpart, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival has a unique programming formula. With a 50/50 talent split between Africa and the rest of the world, this South African event allows for local musicians to take their rightful place alongside international musicians, to the benefit of a very dynamic art form.

Band Performance at CTIJF

Selected bands also perform at the Free Community Concert to be held at Cape Town's Greenmarket Square. The pre-festival concert has become a permanent feature of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival and is the organizers’ commitment to community members who cannot make it to the paid sessions of the event.

If this avid descriptive piece of the CTIJF has caught your fancy and you would love to have an experience next year, you should be aware that accommodation in Cape Town varies from 5-star hotels, to guest houses and B&Bs, as well as value-for-money backpackers. It is a good idea to book early (2 to 3 months in advance) if you're visiting for the jazz festival.

Ecstatic audience of music lovers at the CTIJF

Due to the popularity of the festival, tickets sell out within minutes of going on sale. The weekend passes generally sell out months in advance, but tickets for each day are usually available later on. The festival uses a special cashless wristband to speed up the payment process at the various vendors. Once you arrive at the festival, you can pick up your wristband at one of the cashless top-up Stations and load your spending money. You can load money with cash or card. The wristband is valid at all the bars and food vendors. To check your balance, simply tap the wristband at a Cashless Top-Up Station. You can cash out the remaining funds after the event on a secure payment site made available by the top-up station.

Jazz crew thrilling the audience at the CTIJF

Attending the Cape Town International Jazz Festival is a once in a lifetime experience for passionate jazz lovers and lovers of African music in general.