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By Bonginkosi Tiwane

Digital Journalist

Black Labone: Pretoria’s abode for artists celebrates six years

Black Labone is an art movement from Pretoria hosted every Thursday. It celebrates its six year anniversary this Thursday with a long line-up.

Throughout the country the term ‘phuza Thursdays’ is used as a call-out to the guzzlers who lack the patience to wait for the weekend. But in Pretoria, Thursdays are dedicated to art movement Black Labone.

Black Labone is an abode for creatives of all kinds, mainly music and those who hail from around Tshwane, but creatives from distant lands also call it home. It’s hosted every Thursday at the African Beer Emporium, where unknown and award winning artists share a stage.

Black Labone celebrates its ‘EarthDay’ celebrations on Thursday, commemorating its six years of existence.

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“The Black Labone EarthDay Celebration is quite the festivity, it has been gradually growing over the years and it has been a wondrous journey,” co-founder of Black Labone, Izah, tells The Citizen.

“As the most important day of the year the Black Labone EarthDay has always had a long line up in general, this year there was a noticeable jump in the number of artists that have shown interest in the event.”

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Captains of the capital

With it being hosted in the CBD, the movement is well attended by students from the city, but also has an ardent following of working-adults who love good music and a vibe.

On an average Thursday Black Labone attracts 500 to 800 patrons. “For the Black Labone EarthDay, We are looking at a Modest 2 000 people,” says co-founder and DJ Nafy Dread.

When asked if the venue will be able to accommodate such a big number, Nafy gives and emphatic response. “Definitely, ABE has hosted some really big shows at the venue.”

“In previous years we have featured a little over 30 artists and the numbers fluctuate. This year we will feature 53 artists on the show,” says Izah.

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“It has been received with much interest and excitement. The streets have been buzzing for the last two weeks, people talking about the EarthDay. The line-up was received with much anticipation and enthusiasm,” he says.

Rapper Blaklez, Sama award-winning artists Bongo Riot and Reign Afrika, the jazz sensation Malcolm Jiyane, and Shameless band who have popularised what they call Nkabi Rock, are some of the acts for this Thursday’s edition.

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Black Labone’s growth

Consistency is something a lot of events struggle with, for various reasons. It’s quite significant that an event like this one takes place every Thursday and pulling the numbers it does.

World renowned artists like The Brother Moves On and Thandi Ntuli have performed on the stage, while it’s no shocker to spot artists such as Msaki, Zuluboy or Kwesta there.

“We have gained a lot of experience over the years working with other festivals in different parts of the country. As an organisation we have also built stamina working on shows each and every week at the African Beer Emporium,” shares Nafy.

“We have grown to develop what some people call a weekly festival which runs each and every Thursday. This is an extension of the work we do but on a larger scale it is everything we had imagined it would be, with a fair amount of lows but the highs level them out pretty well. It is a lot of work, but we are all up for the challenge and we are rearing to go,” concludes Izah.

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