12 September 2013 by Lethabo-Thabo Royds and Andrea Weiss

Buskers in South Africa

Music is an important part of South African culture, and there are street musicians all over the country who are more than willing to share their talents with passersby.

This group is playing the Djembe drums, an instrument that originated in West Africa. Photo courtesy of Peng Hui Cheng, aka PH Pictorials

The Love South Africa group on Flickr is constantly updated with fantastic images taken all over the country. Why not share your pictures, too?

Each week we choose images from this group to share on our blog. This week we are celebrating the wonderful buskers who share their passion for music with us, in exchange for a few rands.

You'll encounter street musicians practically everywhere you travel in South Africa, particularly in open-air spaces like the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, where this marimba musician was photographed.

Photo courtesy of Robin Denton

The marimba is popular with performing groups because it lends itself to a range of musical genres, from folk favourites like the Click Song (made famous by the late Miriam Makeba) or something more classical like Bach's Minuet in G. If you see a group like this setting up, it's definitely worth sticking around to hear them perform.

Photo courtesy of Randall Langenhoven, aka WITHIN the FRAME Photgraphy

Jazz trumpeter Abie Thomas busks at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town on a daily basis. He follows in the footsteps of the renowned South African jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela, who made this instrument his own. 

Photo courtesy of Sally Walton, aka Sallyrango

If you visit a local food or craft market, there's usually some music laid on, like this saxophonist performing at the Sunday Market in the Cape Quarter. Cape Town, sometimes called the jazz capital of South Africa, is home to the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, which takes place each year around Easter.

Photo courtesy of Judelle Drake, aka Bradclin Photography

Buskers often make for great photographs and sometimes it's fun to experiment with black-and-white as this lends a bit of a nostalgic, blues feel to your photography, as in this picture of a street guitarist.

Photo courtesy of Bothma van Tonder

As you travel around, you are sure to encounter traditional dance groups performing outdoors. Usually their only accompaniment for their high-energy performances is song and rhythmic foot-stomping.

Photo courtesy of Chris Bloom

The busker (below right) is Magmoed Adams, another regular at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. He is playing a tin guitar, made out of an old oil can that is a hybrid of a guitar and a traditional African instrument. These tin guitars are popular with cash-strapped township musicians who use their ingenuity to create their own instruments.

Photo courtesy of Richard+Rachel

When you're travelling around, don't be shy about stopping to watch a street performance, as it's well worth your time. And, as is common around the world, be sure to drop a few coins into the collection box for the musicians and dancers who lay on this wonderful form of entertainment.

Category: Attractions

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