CapeTownMagazine.com

Manenberg’s Jazz Café at The Camissa Courtyard in Cape ...

Unwrapping Cape Town with you.
Also engage with our other channels
to find something you don't want to miss.
 
www.capetownmagazine.com/subscribe
CapeTownMag
CapeTownMagazine.com
capetownmag

Manenberg’s Jazz Café at The Camissa Courtyard in Cape Town

Famed Mother City music venue of yore re-opens in the CBD to feed harmony-hungry souls

Skip back 20 years to the dawn of South Africa’s democracy in 1994, a topsy-turvy time of rebirth, euphoria, bewilderment and anxiety. The broken and divided city of Cape Town was in desperate need of a positive unifying force, and Manenberg’s Jazz Café, which was opened on Adderley Street amidst this climate, was that very thing – it was a place where nothing mattered but a love for rhythm, a place where people of different backgrounds could, in founder Clarence Ford’s words, “encounter each other culturally” for the first time post-Apartheid.

Great stars like Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba, Jimmy Dludlu and Lucky Dube graced the stage there, everyone from judges to politicians to bar owners dined and drank there and the country’s cultural diversity was celebrated against the backdrop of beats and ballads.

But time took its toll on this authentic, no-frills hub of joy and soon it was pushed out of the city bowl and into the very tourist-orientated V&A Waterfront. Finally, in April 2008, under the weight of huge financial pressure, Manenberg’s closed its doors, leaving a gaping hole in Cape Town’s entertainment scene and in the hearts of many.

Now, almost exactly two decades later, that hole has been filled. On 6 December 2014, the much-loved institution re-opened within the quiet, leafy Camissa Courtyard on Strand Street, and though the times have changed somewhat, the laidback jazz club’s aims are largely the same.

“In a still very divided Cape Town, we need a place where our common humanity can find expression,” says Clarence, who never gave up on his project. “We need to find a new generation of musicians, dancers and poets to reflect the needs of our time now.”

The location of the reborn Manenberg’s is also significant. The live music venue sits on top of one of the branches of the now-underground Camissa River, which was once a life-giving force for the indigenous Khoi people (Camissa, which means ‘the place of sweet waters’ is actually the Khoi name for Cape Town). Needless to say, this very spot was a site of communal gathering hundreds of years ago and a great source of physical and spiritual fulfilment for the natives of past, and today, Manenberg’s aims to bring folks together and feed the souls of people in a similar way.

Not to mention, the jazz club’s base in a peaceful courtyard dotted with ancient trees and strung with twinkling fairy lights does also help to make it an alluring place to while away an evening. Though it’s just a restaurant during the day, the eatery transforms into a lively pocket of song and brassy melodies every night of the week, with the line-up of performers including current greats like renowned guitarist Allou April, jazz legend Alvin Dyers, respected composer and pianist Hilton Schilder and celebrated band N2.

The club is laid out like a dinner theatre with restaurant tables scattered in front of the stage, so patrons can sit back and enjoy local wine and full-flavoured food while they take in the tunes of music masters. In line with the historical significance of the venue and its location, the menu reflects the various influences on Cape cuisine and, thus, features options like classic braai dishes, seafood plates and fragrant curries that hark back to the time of the slave trade in South Africa.

So, visitors can get a taste of the nation’s heritage through both the fare on offer at Manenberg’s and the rhythms and harmonies. It’s undoubtedly a place to pay homage to the past, but within the same breath, just like when this institution rose up back in 1994, it’s also a place to celebrate a positive, unified future.

Tip: If you plan to visit Manenberg’s any evening after 7pm, it’s highly recommended that you book at least a week in advance to secure a table. To do so, call the number below.

The Bill: Visitors are asked to pay a cover charge when visiting Manenberg’s for live jazz in the evenings. This entrance fee is R60p/p on Friday and Saturday nights and R50p/p on all other nights of the week.

Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday: 9:30am – midnight; Friday – Saturday: 9:30am – 2am; Sunday: 4pm – midnight

96 Strand Street | City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 839 5126

Images courtesy of Rob Piper

---

Eager to discover other places to listen to live tunes? Have a look at our guide to music venues in Cape Town.

---

Check out our events section for an up-to-date overview of happenings in Cape Town. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter and if you have a smartphone, add m.capetownmagazine.com to your home screen for quick access on the go!

Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, join our Google+ circle, connect with us on LinkedIn, check out our photos on Instagram and follow our Pinterest boards for updates on what’s happening in and around the Mother City!

Cape Town Events Calendar
February 2020
SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29

Woolworths_ProductionA Haunting New Show With A Hilariously ...

Anything and everything will be made fun of in Juliet Jenkin’s new satire

mother_city_comedy_festivalPlanting Funny Bones And Growing Local ...

Come out to support comedians you know... and new ones you’ll love

Wolfie7Got kids? Put This Family Festival On ...

Three days, a packed line-up of activities, and quality time with the kids

Cape Town Helicopters Generic NEW 3Get A Treat When You Book Any One Of ...

Use “capetownmagazine” at check out when you book online with Cape Town Experiences

wine_glass_13Wine Down Every Weekend at The Wine ...

Great specials: 2-for-1 on Fridays, oysters and bubbly on Sundays

la_parada_sunsetLa Parada Kickstarts Your Weekend With ...

DJ Tanner, DJ Cosher, ALT EGO and Acoustic Element, plus happy hour and tapas

Polkadraai_and_popcorn_popcorn_and_wine1Polkadraai & Popcorn Wine Pairing Back ...

Check out the anti-serious wine pairing in the Western Cape with Polkadraai & Popcorn

OX boat rides 04Spot Whales, Dolphins, Penguins, Seals ...

Readers get a special discounted rate with Ocean Experiences

aroundaboutnew3Season Specials And More With ...

From R200 vouchers and free upgrades, drive away with more value adds

William_Kentridge_2A Monumental Exhibition At The Norval ...

The iconic South African artist’s largest exhibition in Africa in over a decade

Marianne Wine EstateStay at Marianne Wine Estate for 20% ...

There are plenty of accommodation options at this winery that sits between Stellenbosch ...

rotterdamUltimate Bachelorette Party: The Girls ...

Three days of gin pairings, massages and pool (or fireside bar) parties on a private ...

goudini8Get Married At Goudini Spa And Stay in ...

It’s a 6-sleeper with panoramic views of the Breedkloof valley

kiff_kombis_wine_beer_2019Buckle Up For A Beer Safari

Sample the best that Cape Town’s booming craft beer industry has to offer (and let ...

onomo_tacoTacos and Sangria at a Friday Fiesta ...

Tuck in while you soak in the atmosphere of the city centre

camissatownship_newEmbark On A Township Eco-Friendly ...

Enjoy this interactive excursion to the bustling community of Langa

Glowing Rooms 3Get a Great Saving on 3D Mini-Golf with ...

Pay a special rate for entrance into SA’s first 3D space-themed glow-in-the-dark ...

asamisOverload On Asami’s Sushi And Noodles

Get sushi and noodle specials three days a week

galileo_meyThe Galileo Open Air Cinema Friday ...

Get your dose of classics, dramas, action movies and more at these outdoor summertime ...

Leopards Leap Rotisserie LunchRotisserie Lunch at Leopard’s Leap ...

Snack on succulent skewered meats and seasonal salads at this hip, young Winelands ...

tjing_momjii_3Next-Level Dining At Tjing Tjing Momiji

Take your taste buds on a tour of Japan

WeatherGiveawaysTravel Tips