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Tribute to Mariam Makeba

One of South Africa’s most legendary music icons is by no doubt is Mariam Makeba. From the dusty streets of Soweto, straight into exile in the year 1960. Makeba’s love for music was not shaken by the hard trails of apartheid. She shined all the way from abroad and kept the African spirit through it all, thus today we will forever remember our “Mama Africa”

Join us at the Birchwood Hotel & OR Tambo Conference Centre on the 14th of November, as we celebrate the well lived life of Mariam Makeba. This month’s Birchwood “Ekurhuleni Comes Alive” Jazz Evening will be a tribute to the late Makeba who passed away on the 9th of November 2008. To celebrate this world icon, the Birchwood Hotel has gone all out in bringing nothing but the best in entertainment.

The Tribute to Mariam Makeba will not consist of only one main artist. The main act will consist of two legendary divas, Dorothy Masuku and Abigail Kubeka, as well as Zenzi Makeba Lee and the original Makeba band. Dorothy Masuku rose to fame in the 1950’s. Her voice was one of a kind and it caught the global ear. She is also well known for being a composer, of which she composed many of Mariam Makeba’s songs like the famous Pata Pata. Abigail Kubeka on the other hand was discovered by Makeba. She then joined Makeba’s all girls group called “Skylarks”. Her First Single was released in Nigeria and Europe in 1981 and from there her fame grew from strength to strength. Abigail is a versatile singer and actress; she has starred in numerous musicals films and TV soapies and dramas. Zenzi Makeba Lee was born in Manhattan, New York, to a South African mother and an American father. Her first documented stage appearance was at the age of eight in Den Hague at the Northsea Jazz Festival and at the age of thirteen, Zenzi was featured in a televised concert in Spain.

Supporting the main act for the night will Sifiso Khanyile. Khanyile was born in Mbali township, Pietermaritzburg. Not unlike most township youngsters, he comes from a highly musical family. His debut album is called “Music is everywhere” and he has also been featured in the internationally successful musical theatre piece, “The Journey”, produced by Shado Twala, and directed by Duma ka Ndlovu. The opening act for the night will be Obakeng Ramaboa. Obakeng is well known from the Top 10 Idols SA Season 8, and since recognition from this show he has shared the stage with musicians such as Danny K, Zakes Bantwini, Zahara and Loyiso Bala just to name a few.

So join us as we commemorate the well lived life of Mama Africa at the next Birchwood “Ekurhuleni Comes Alive” Jazz Evening. Brought to you by The Birchwood Hotel & OR Tambo Conference Centre, in partnership with Kaya FM, Sowetan and KWV.

For bookings contact Portia on (011) 897 0024 Or portiar@birchwoodhotel.co.za




Back to Sophiatown

On October 10th, The Birchwood “Ekurhuleni Comes Alive” Jazz Evening brings you the Old Sophiatown theme as you know and remember it. Sophiatown was the heart of Johannesburg and at the epicentre of jazz and blues. From Sophiatown and its artistic atmosphere, some of today’s legendary South African artists, writers, musicians came to life and today we still enjoy these sweet sounds from our history.

The Birchwood “Ekurhuleni Comes Alive” Jazz takes you back to the creativity of those days. From the ladies in thin belts around the flare dresses, to loose pants that were referred to as “iphalaza”, high-waist pants and skirts, the bow-ties, cross belts, yes the three piece suits as well. This experience can only be given to us one more time by someone who lived through it. Thus Birchwood brings to you the legendary Jonas Gwangwa. Mr Gwangwa is a trombonist and a composer who emerged from the streets of Soweto in Orlando East, he has been a big part of the South African jazz for over forty years now. He gained popularity overseas as well and has performed alongside other great musicians such as Mariam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, Letta Mbulu and many more.

No stranger to this event is the magnificent Wanda Baloyi, who will be the supporting act for the night. Baloyi is started her musical journey in 1990 as a member of an all-girl group called the Ghetto-Luv. Her first solo album was released in 2003 with the title “Voices”, and it earned her a Kora Award for best African Arrangement in the year 2004. She has also been a nominee for the SAMA’s in 2005 and for the Channel O Music Video awards in 2006. Though after her third album in 2009, Baloyi took some time out for at least three years. However she has certainly bounced back into the industry with her new album titled “Love and Life”. This album holds a few well recorded collaborations with likes of Judith Sephuma and Kabomo just to mention a few.

Opening this night of total bliss will be Liz Ogumbo. Liz started performing at the tender age of four. Coming from a musical family, for Liz this was like of second nature to her. Not only do her talents lie in music, she is also a well-established model with her very own modelling agency in LA and Kenya, and a writer and story teller too. She has performed her music in big festivals such as HIFA, Lakes of Stars, Indian Ocean Music Festival, Africa 2.0 Awards and many more.

No Birchwood jazz is ever complete without the pleasing and healing sounds of laughter. Catch School Boy live on stage for some fun filled stand-up comedy. So join us as we gather in the spirit of jazz and blues, all dressed up in Sophiatown outfits and hairstyles, let’s heat it up and bring it all back to live. Allow The Birchwood Hotel together with Kaya FM and Sowetan to bring back to you the experience one more time!  Remember there are always prizes to be won.


For bookings please contact Portia on: (011) 897 0024 portiar@birchwoodhotel.co.za


Check out Birchwood's Facebook Page for more information on www.facebook.com/birchwoodhotel. See you there!



A report on Friday's fire and the response by Birchwood hotel.

It's time for the next Ekurhuleni Comes Alive Evening on Friday, 12 September. The event will feature Simphiwe Dana, as well as Hlengiwe Pitso, Lindiwe Maxolo and Siyanda Maphumulo, so be sure to buy your tickets today!



The UKAJEDE Foundation and Birchwood Hotel Winter Campaign


A while ago The UKAJEDE Foundation and Birchwood Hotel team asked for your help in raising donations for the annual Winter Warmer Campaign. This campaign was established to help the less fortunate children in the community with warm cloths and blankets during the cold season.

Once again this campaign was a success. We received large amounts of donations and we were able to make a difference out there. We may not have been able to help the world, but we were able to make the world of certain individuals warm and therefore a better place to be. The children were certainly filled with joy as they received their gifts on Friday June 20th.

The UKAJEDE Foundation and Birchwood Hotel team are very grateful for each and every donor who reached a hand out. Thank you for your thoughtful efforts, they have not gone unnoticed. A special thank you to The East Rand Business Women, Coke-a-cola canners, BMW (Bring My Wheels) and the Birchwood Hotel staff. 


Birchwood UKAJEDE Winter Warmer Campaign Needs Your Help

The Birchwood Hotel is proud to support the UKAJEDE Foundation, which provides for children in need in our neighbouring communities. As we enter what may be out coldest winter yet, most of our UKAJEDE children will be faced with a situation having little or no clothes to keep them warm. We would like to make a plea for donations of any warm clothes, shoes, scarves, gloves, and blankets for the children. All donations are welcome, no matter how small. Together we can make a difference, and create a better life the child in need.
Should you wish to donate anything, all you have to do is leave your donation at the Birchwood Hotel reception, where there will be a box where you can drop your donations.

The UKAJEDE foundation would like to sincerely thank all those who continue to support us, physically or otherwise. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed!
For more information, please contact Thembi Ntuli (UKAJEDE co-ordinator) at (011) 8970142/thembin@birchwoodhotel.co.za