Eastern Cape Jazz Legends

Throughout the years, Eastern Cape jazz has had a longstanding reputation for creating a unique style of South African music that has developed into a distinctive, vibrant section of South African jazz.

©Dr Peter Magubane

The jazz musicians in this region have long and colourful histories, which span the years of the struggle against apartheid. In the 1950’s, when jazz was starting to develop, Eastern Cape jazz drew a lot of inspiration from America.

In East London, local aspiring musicians would visit American ships docked in the harbour, and they would befriend the musicians on board, taking them to their homes, whereupon they would play their records and discuss jazz.

Notable Eastern Cape jazz legends include pianist Chris McGregor, trumpeter Mongezi Feza, drummer Lulu Gontsana and sax player Dudu Pukwana to name a few. South Africa Online ® celebrates the legends of the past, and the future of Eastern Cape jazz.

By Carla Lottering

Lulu Gontsana

Lulama Lulu Junior Gontsana was a distinguished drummer and jazz musician who hailed from Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape....more

Mongezi Feza

Mongezi Feza was a South African jazz trumpeter and flautist. He was known for fusing kwela rhythms and African melodies with jazz during hi...more

Retsi Michael Pule

Retsi Pule is a jazz singer hailing from the Eastern Cape. He is known for his smooth vocals, lively performances and American jazz influenc...more

Wela Matomela

Wela Matomela is a well known and revered jazz vocalist, drummer and pianist from the Eastern Cape....more