Joburg Zoo in association with the City of Johannesburg entities; Joburg Theatre, City Parks and City Power are excited to announce the annual Joburg Zoo Festival of Lights featuring an enchanting collection of illuminated life-size animal characters featuring classical, harmonious entertainment, food and craft market for visitors to the Joburg Zoo.

Open from 7 – 10pm daily in the evenings except on Mondays, patrons can enjoy a tranquil walk in the zoo on a designated lit route away from the animals under trees decorated in enchanting lights.

The Joburg Zoo Festival of Lights will kick off with a classical performance of highlights from The Nutcracker by Joburg Ballet at the Bandstand in the zoo. The entertainment will vary on a daily basis, offering a night out in the zoo for all ages.

Tickets are available at R60 for kids 3 – 12 and R120 for kids 12+ and adults, Kids under 3 free entrance. For a detailed list of each evening’s entertainment, click here

1) Joburg Ballet: Performance Dates: 1 Dec, 3rd Dec, 4th, 5, 6, 7 and 8th Dec 2019.
Joburg Ballet is a full-time, professional ballet company, resident at the Joburg Theatre in the heart of Johannesburg. Their repertoire includes full-length productions of major classical works, as well as shorter ballets, including original works created for the company by South African and international choreographers.

2) KAMVA: Strings Ensemble Quartet: Led by led by versatile double bassist: Viwe Mkizwana: Performance dates: 1 Dec, 3rd Dec, 4th, 5, 6, 7 and 8th Dec 2019

KAMVA is a versatile music collective that provides live music performances for events/functions. The collective performs a variety of original compositions/covers to suit any type of event. The notable success of this collective stems from a commitment to an energetic, organic style of music creation and performance. Since their formation, KAMVA has performed frequently both in public and private events. The collective’s passion for music has taken them around the country and the world; they were privileged to perform in large concert halls such as The Royal Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Berlin Philharmonia (Germany), and BOZAR (Belgium). Through their travels they played alongside worlds celebrated musician such as Rodolfo Maderos of Argentina, Anders Paulson of Sweden, and Duncan Ward of London to mention a few. The members of KAMVA are also part of South Africa’s best orchestras such as The Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra and MIAGI Orchestra. They have also served as principals in their section for MIAGI Orchestra. The Collective has recently recorded an album with the Mkizwana Ensemble, released July 2019. They also feature on Titi Luzipho’s debut album. In February 2019, they were on the hit SABC series, Skeem Saam.

3) Morris Issacson Centre for Music: Performance Dates: 1 DEC, 6TH, 7TH Dec and 8th Dec.

4) Duo: Nomshenge Dlamini (Vocals ) and Tshitso The Guitarist Dates: Performance Dates 6th, 7th and 8th Dec
Nomashenge is a Ladysmith born and Durban bred poet-vocalist, and pharmacist. She began her poetry and singing career in 2005 as a writer and 2007 as a performer. Having shared her work across the country including the Arts Alive, Essence, and Open Book International Festivals, Nomashenge’s blend of music and poetry brings forth a hybrid of performance-poetry that speaks to the heart of her work. Tshitso is an accomplished acoustic guitarist.

5) Mr Billy Monama : Performances 10th , 11 and 12 Dec 2019
Billy Monama hailing from the Northern Province is an exceptionally talented guitarist, composer and musical arranger. He inherited a rich musical culture that combined traditional ethnic sounds with those from western jazz styles. Mr Monama is largely self-taught, although he studied at Central Johannesburg College and has worked largely within the Jazz idiom. Billy sees himself as part of the new generation of South African musicians that want to take music of the African continent to greater heights: musicians who have a strong understanding of the local sound yet have global aspirations. Billy Monama has collaborated with leading local and international musicians. In October 2017, Monama released his debut album titled REBOUNCE. Billy Monama also leads a very exciting seven-piece band from different cultural backgrounds, together they produce strong & infectious melodies, cushioned by a warm horn section and driven by highly rhythmic vocal chants called The Grass Roots Project.
6) Time Zone: Jazz Trio Featuring Avzal Ismail on piano, Siphiwe Shiburi on drums and Emmanuel Paul on bass. Performances: Dec 10th, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18th, 19th, 21, 21 and 22 Dec 2019.
Avzal Ismail is a prolific, internationally acclaimed South African pianist and educator with many decades of experience in the music industry behind him. His musical influences are many but he is particularly known as a jazz and Latin jazz pianist, although fluent in most other genres as well. Avzal has been prominent on both the South African and international music scenes and has performed across the world.
Siphiwe Shiburi is a drummer/Sound engineer who is well established amongst the Jazz community in S.A. and internationally. He has worked with the likes of Miriam Makeba, Bheki Khoza, Africa Mkhize, and Simphiwe Dana.
Emmanuel Ojonugwa Paul is a bassist, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He developed a great love for the bass at an early age, singing recorded bass lines on recordings by the great masters such as Fela Kuti, James Brown and the Yellow Jackets. He has also worked extensively with South African and overseas musicians including spending a year working with Turkish musicians. Emmanuel is currently studying Jazz and Music Performance at Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria.
7) Pops Mohammed on the Kora with Ashishi Joshi on Tabla. : Performances: 11th, 12, 13th December.2019
Pops Mohamed is one of South Africa’s’ most versatile musicians. . He first played the guitar and keyboard and then turned to traditional music from various lands, especially South Africa. He plays ancient instruments like the thumb piano, kora and didgeridoo but also experiments with the newest technology, always in the service of music.
Before turning to traditional sounds, he played the keyboard with eminent jazz musicians live and in the studio. His album was How Far Have We Come, the first product of his long-lasting connection to a Khoisan (bushman) group in the east of Namibia. In the Kalahari waste, he made recordings which he then processed with a computer and supplemented with tracks made by studio musicians in Johannesburg and London. In a similar project, with the singer Samia from Bangladesh, he accompanied old Bengali songs with not only traditional instruments, but also keyboards and a drum-computer. He has produced other records with such various colleagues as the trumpeter Bruce Cassidy, formerly with the band Blood, Sweat & Tears, and the London Sound Collective.
Ashishi Joshi: Ashish Joshi underwent four years of training in the classical form of the art of percussion whilst he continued to play at religious gatherings for his spiritual group Rishi (Ramakrishna Institute of Spirituality and Hinduism).
He formed the duo Strings and Skins and released an album of the same name. This duo went on to perform stunning concerts around southern Africa and did some remarkable collaborations with rap metal group Not My Dog, Tony Cox on his China album, as well as Madala Kunene and the DJ remix product Krushed and Sorted. Ashish has also accompanied various artists including Steve Newman, the late great bassist Gito Baloi, Neo Munyanga, Rob Watson and Barry van Zyl during his 16 years of performance. Ashish continued to dazzle audiences around southern Africa with his ever-growing percussive expression on the tabla, djembe, darbuka and dhol.

8) Mlamli: Acapella Acoustic Group :

9) Sakhile Moleshe: Performances 13th, 14th and 15th Dec 2019
From Alice in the Eastern Cape, via Grahamstown to Ekapa, vocalist Sakhile Moleshe graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Cape Town before hitting the road. Sakhile Moleshe is a composer, vocalist and pianist.

As a lead vocalist for the acclaimed electro-jazz outfit Goldfish, with sold-out shows from London to Miami to Sao Paolo, Goldfish garnered a record-breaking 8 South African Music Award nominations amongst their many accolades. His formal education now complemented through an intensive five-year stint of international touring with the duo Goldfish, Moleshe has emerged as a performing artist in his own right, working in forms which span from dance floor genres such as electronica and hip hop, through to the voice and harmonies of African jazz.
10) Acapella Group from Art24 Academy. Performances: 10th, 11, 12, Dec 2019

Art24Academy – A mixed ensemble of young men and women combining Poetry, Rap, Clap n Tap and Acapella Music to create a sound original to African Soil. All songs are self-composed, with the aim to educate and entertain.

11) Sibusile Trio: Featuring Sibusile Xaba on guitar, Tumi Mogorosi on percussion, Ariel Zamonsky on Double Bass: Performances 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 and 29th Dec 2019
KwaZulu-Natal-born guitarist and vocalist Sibusile Xaba has all the makings of an acoustic guitar master. With a vocal style that is part dreamscaping and part ancestral invocation, Xaba divines as opposed to plainly singing. Combined with a guitar style that is rooted in expressive picking, Xaba’s music shatters the confines of genre, taking only the fundamentals from mentors such as Madala Kunene and Dr Philip Tabane and imbuing these with a mythology and improvisational intensity all of his own. His debut double album – ‘Unlearning’ & ‘Open Letter to Adoniah’ – was released internationally on 4 August 2017 to critical acclaim. 2017 saw Sibusile touring through various countries in Africa and Europe, where he performed at a number of prestigious music festivals (Shambala and Jazz ala Villette), music venues (Ronnie Scotts) and radio stations (including Worldwide FM & Radio France). Sibusile will be toured extensively during the course of 2018, promoting his debut release.
Ariel Zamonsky is a talented musician who plays both upright and electric bass player. Zamonsky is Argentinean-born but currently based in South Africa.
Tumi Mogorosi is a versatile and gifted percussionist and guitarist. Arranger and composer Tumi Mogorosi has probably played the guitar for longer than he has played the drums – but the drums are his instrument of choice. He is a graduate of Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), where he studied jazz. For his album Elohim, Mogorosi enlisted the talents of some of the most exciting young musicians working in Johannesburg and Pretoria. None of them was then older than 30. One of the remarkable elements of this seven-track CD is the use of operatic voices. They soar and slide, bounce and soak into the primary architecture of the sound, adding context and content to the music and bringing altogether new sensibilities to the sound.

12) Ark of Arts: Jazz Quartet: Performances: 31st Dec, 1, 2, 3rd, 4th ad 5 January 2019
Ark of Arts is a jazz music band started on 23 March 2017, founded by Bassist, Jeffrey Mbonyane, Thabo Maloka on trumpet, Maqhawe Sibindanathe on Piano, Paki Kunupi on drums and vocalist, Seipati Mofokeng. Ark of Arts is strictly a jazz music group, having their own compositions they bring a fresh new breeze of jazz music that anyone can enjoy.

13) Zano: Vocalist: Performing 20th and 21st Dec 2019
Singer, songwriter, music producer, vocal coach, and now MD of his own independent music label, ZanoUrban Global Music; Zano grew up surrounded by various genres of music. He is an accomplished vocalist from R& B to Jazz to House music. Zano decided to pursue studies in popular music, majoring in vocals at the former Ochrim School of Music. This is where he met Shota, who would later sign Zano under his label Shota Music in 2008. In the same year, he met Black Coffee and Demor.
Zano’s first big musical break came when Black Coffee approached him for a collaboration on a song which was to be featured on DJ Christos and Vinny Da Vinci’s “DJs @Work 4”. The song, titled “Happiness” became a popular underground deep house jam that tucked at the hearts of whoever dared to listen to it. This song drew the attention of role-players in the music industry; one of those role-players was the late Lebo Mathosa. Zano went on to work with Lebo Mathosa for nearly 3 years as a backing vocalist, songwriter, and vocal arranger. What followed thereafter were prominent features in artists’ and DJs’ albums from 2005 to the present. Some of those albums he featured in included “DJ Christos – Spiritual Journey”, “Shana – Self titled album”, “SoulCandi Sessions 3”, “Black Coffee – Self-titled 1st solo album”, “Black Coffee – Home Brewed”, Sisco Umlambo – Hush Hush”. Zano’s consistency and relevance in the house music industry is as a direct result of working with Black Coffee. South African dance floors are familiar with songs such as “Hello” (Zano, produced by Black Coffee), “Someday” (Black Coffee ft. Zano), and “My Confession” (Tumelo ft. Zano, produced by Black Coffee).
Zano has worked on several successful musical productions including the award-winning ‘The Color Purple’ produced by the Joburg Theatre.
14) Komplete: Acapella Group: Perfuming 22nd, 27th and 28th Dec 2019
South Africa plays a major role in the world of music when it comes to vocal music. The first worldwide success was Solomon Linda´s song “Mbube” (The Lion Sleeps Tonight), written in 1939 – a song in the Isicathamiya style that went around the world and has been covered countless times until today. Miriam Makeba´s Song “Pata Pata” became famous as the “click-song” and Ladysmith Black Mambazo had a big hit with “Homeless” on the Paul Simon album Graceland. Complete – a four men vocal choir – are deeply rooted in these vocal traditions, while they rather refer to the time before Mambazo on the one hand side and use modern elements on the other hand side.
Complete can be considered as South Africa´s new acapella sensation: Hugh Masekela discovered them a few years ago and started working with them. Stewart Levine (producer of Joe Cocker’s Come Back album and of Simply Red) travelled to South Africa to record with them … It all started some 12 years ago.
Formed by two brothers Happy and Bongikosi Motha in 2001 and later completed by two other members, Linda Thobela and Bubele Mgele, Complete is a vocal indulgence. That would be incomplete if they did not consist of the harmonic voices they have.
The quartet found its wings in the Assembly of God Church in Boksburg, Vosloorus, where they have built a fan base with their regular harmonious performances. They were then recruited by Benjamin Dube to be part of the critically-acclaimed Praise Explosion 2004. Complete went on to perform at the T.D Jacks Mega Fest concert held at Johannesburg, South Africa.
This talented group has the vision to touch and change the hearts of music lovers’ worldwide. They go about in achieving this in a form of singing in gospel, RnB and in one of the most popular South African genres, Isicathamiya. Complete music is spiritual, mature and extravagant and crosses cultural, racial and class barriers. Complete has worked with the legendary Hugh Masekela on the ‘100 years of South African music’ theatre show. This resulted in them working again with the legend himself on the show Songs of Migration, also featuring Sibongile Khumalo. Complete then went to work in Germany with the legendary pianist Themba Mkhize and collaborated with a German group, SWR Big Band.
In 2011 Complete had a major success as singers in Hugh Masekela´s musical “Songs of Migration” at the Market Theatre which went on to tour successfully in the USA and Europe.

Dance: The Festival of Lights at Joburg Zoo will feature various dance groups including urban dance styles such as hip hop, Pantsula, house and urban contemporary dance.
15. Urban Dance: The Arts of Dance: Performances 24th, 25, 26, 27, 28 and 29th Dec 2019
This award-winning young group, led by Nicole Koeberg, hail from Ennerdale. Last year they won the Global Dance Award. In 2020 they will be travelling to Portugal to perform at the international dance event.
16. Pantsula Dance groups: 7up from Soweto performing: 26 and 27th Dec

17. Alex Pantsula performing 31st Dec and 1st January 2019.