Major music festival to wind down a three day feast of music business talks as Bassline presents I am Here

The festival on Saturday features Thandiswa Mazwai, Sampa The Great, Stogie T and more at Constitution Hill.

By Edward Tsumele, CITYLIFE/ARTS Editor 

As people started arriving, the skies opened and there was a downpour that at some stage threatened to disrupt the night’s activities, but well in Africa rain is welcome ahead of a major event taking place, as it is regarded as a blessing.

On Thursday, not even a heavy downpour in Johannesburg stopped proceedings at Access from taking place at Constitution Hill as a show case of artistic talent took place with the Honorary Awards moved to Friday, November 26, 2021 at the same venue. However on Saturday, November 27, there is more taking place, particularly with a major music festival taking place at the same venue, featuring a powerful line up of musicians from around the globe, winding down the three days of activities around the city as music experts mapped a new way forward for the business of music on the African continent.

“Bassline, in association with the leading pan-African music trade-event ACCES, is excited to present the Bassline Fest I AM HERE live music concert happening on 27th November 2021 at the iconic Constitution Hill in Johannesburg. This concert will be for a live audience (in-line with Covid regulations) and also be streamed internationally with Bassline’s festival partners. 

The headline artists are South African legend Thandiswa Mazwai and Zambia  born Australia based Sampa The Great,  who has been impacting globally with her latest albums and shows. Also billed are SA hip hop stalwart Stogie T, Lesotho’s Morena Leraba, Laliboi and Ikati Esengxoweni from South Africa and Moonga K  from Zambia/Botswana. Blk Jks Soundsystem will be on decks throughout the show. Tickets are R400 on Howler and Computicket. The show starts at 16:00 and ends at 23:00,” the organisers said in a statement.

“Bassline Fest is  excited to announce the I AM HERE concert with the 4th Music In Africa Conference For Collaborations, Exchange and Showcases (ACCES), as their official Festival Partner.  “ACCES is a pan-African trade event for music industry players to exchange ideas, discover new talent and create business linkages. ACCES is held in a different African city every year, attracting active music industry players from across the globe. This year is Johannesburg’s turn,” says concert organizer Brad Holmes of Bassline. Register for ACCES  at .

ACCES is organised by the Music In Africa Foundation, a non-profit and pan-African organisation, in partnership with Siemens Stiftung, Goethe-Institut and Reeperbahn Festival International – one of Europe’s largest club festivals.

Featuring international speakers, networkers and showcasing artists, offers a strong programme that includes industry talks, pitch and networking sessions, workshops, music performances and exhibitions with delegates from over 40 countries. This year ACCES  and  Reeperbahn Festival present  exciting live acts from across Africa over three days (25 – 27 November).  On Saturday ACCES joins forces with Bassline to offer a truly memorable pan-African event. 

Holmes emphasises that the performances are happening as a result of the support of a number of different organizations,”Sampa The Great’s performance at the Bassline Fest is made possible by  the Reeperbahn Festival.  SAKIFO Festival is supporting StogieT’s performance in keeping with the long relationship with Bassline Fest, sharing talent & industry experience. StogieT will be presenting his craft with the support of an all-star jazz quartet; Shane Cooper on bass & electric guitar, Bokani Dyer on keys/piano, multi-instrumentalist Clement Carr, Justin Badenhorst on drums and additional vocals by BONJ” 

Eddie Hatidye, Music In Africa Director says “The Bassline team has for many years championed the celebration and discovery of African talent. We at the Music In Africa Foundation are delighted to finally have the opportunity to join forces with Bassline with the goal to produce a memorable event. 

Holmes explains that this latest Bassline Live show case is a continuation of work his organisation has engaged in to keep music alive over the trying times of Covid 19.   “I AM HERE is the middle part of a two year project titled “From Lockdown to Live” An African Music Journey. This project spans the whole of the pandemic period from 2020 to 2022 and consists of I AM HOME, I AM HERE & I AM LIVE. I AM HOME broadcast earlier this year was a hugely successful hybrid project resulting in a Bassline presented & made for TV, live music special, I AM HOME . Which featuring a host of African music artists from across the African Continent. Some artists were filmed live at the Bassline Live at The Lyric Returns, 3 concerts in May 2021 series with a host of burgeoning and established artists. This series was made possible by the NAC’s PESP stimulus package. In I AM HOME audience got to see Sampa The Great in a pre-recoded studio set, this as a precursor and a tantaliser for audiences to now see her in the flesh live on stage at the Bassline Fest I AM HERE.”  

Register for ACCES at


Sampa The Great (Sampa Tembo) is a poet and singer-songwriter. Expressing herself through music, poetry and visual art, Sampa captures listeners with thought provoking words, while encouraging people to enjoy the simplicity of creativity.

The rise of Sampa The Great has been spectacular to watch. Having previously released two mixtapes in The Great Mixtape (2015) and Birds And The BEE9 (2017), the Zambian-born, Botswana-raised and now Melbourne based artist shared her debut album The Return, in 2019.

The Return sees Sampa delve into conversations of freedom, expression, heritage and displacement that have filled a four-year journey towards finding home within herself. It is a walk beyond her journey to self-discovery, rather a formative climb to enlightenment and contentment fuelled by her experiences as an in Australia and the physical, spiritual and cultural influences of her ancestors and birthplace in Zambia.

Mixed predominantly by Stones Throw’s Jonwayne and BoyBetterKnow’ s go-to engineer MsM and Andrei Eremin (Grammy Nominated Engineer). The Return blends hip-hop, neo-soul, gospel, afrobeat and jazz and features productions by Silentjay, Kwes Darko (Slowthai) and Clever Austin (Perrin Moss of Hiatus Kaiyote) as well as collaborations with Ecca Vandal, Blue Lab Beats, Jazz-collective Steam Down and many more.

 Released on Ninja Tune, The Return, it’s debut single “Final Form” and the live show have seen Sampa The Great awarded many accolades, including an ARIA for Best Hip Hop Release, two at both the Music Victoria Awards and National Live Music Award.

Alongside her industry praise, The Return found radio support with international heavyweights like Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden (Beats 1) and Annie Mac (BBC Radio 1). Elsewhere, the record was supported heavily by NPR, KCRW and peaked at No.1 on the US College Radio Charts, as well as all Australian community radio, Triple J and Double J. While receiving love from the likes of The Guardian, NPR, Pitchfork, The FADER, Billboard, OkayAfrica and countless others, Sampa also made her European TV debut, opening series 54 of Later With Jools Holland, performing her standout singles “OMG”, “Freedom” and “Final Form”. 

The fruits of Sampa The Great’s back catalogue has accumulated over 33 million collective streams since her 2015 breakout The Great Mixtape, which was described by OkayPlayer as “an adventurous young mind-pushing out against all boundaries”. Following that, Sampa released her HERoes EP and HERoes Act 2 EP, the latter being a collaboration with Estelle, Rahki and Red Bull Sound Select. Her second long-form release, Birds And The BEE9 – produced by Silentjay, Kwes Darko and Sensible J (REMI) – was defined by The Observer as an album in which “categories dissolve around her”, won the Australian Music Prize as Best Album Of 2017 and received support from NPR, Clash, OkayAfrica, Bandcamp, XLR8R, Complex, Noisey, Huffington Post, Gal Dem, The Guardian and more.

 In 2018, Sampa ended the year with her independently released single “Energy”, which premiered via Zane Lowe’s show on Apple Music’s Beats 1 and has over 2.6M YouTube views to date. To date, Sampa has 33.5M+ combined streams and over 571k monthly Spotify listeners of which the UK and Australia are her #1 territories.

Entertaining audiences across the globe, Sampa has won a wave of adoring fans with her live shows.

She’s recently wrapped a sold out Australian and European tour of The Return and performed at some of the most iconic festivals in the world, including Glastonbury, Splendour in the Grass, Laneway, Sugar Mountain, Vivid Live, Dark Mofo, Love Supreme Jazz Festival, Down The Rabbit Hole and more. 

Keeping in the company of greatness, she has supported the biggest names in music including Burna Boy, Kendrick Lamar, Ms Lauryn Hill, Thundercat, Hiatus Kaiyote, Ibeyi and Little Simz.

Sampa The Great has a penchant for poetry and weaves lyrical mazes with her verses, drawing listeners into a lush, imaginative world. Her music bonds from spoken-word to rap, with stops at psychedelic and blues along the way; it’s the sound of an adventurous young mind pushing out against all boundaries.


Final Form (Official Video):

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