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Bokani Dyer leads GIMC Jazz pack

Publishing Date : 31 July, 2018

Author : DAVE BAAITSE

Botswana talent export to South Africa, Bokani Dyer will be making his maiden appearance at one of Africa’s biggest music and culture festivals, Gaborone International Music and Culture (GIMC) festival which starts September 1st through September 8 in Gaborone.


The Cape Town based Dyer is the son of legendary musician, Steve Dyer. Botswana bred, he has schooled in one of the best schools in the country, Maruapula School. He currently enjoys a flourishing music career in Cape Town, South Africa. As his name implies, he has strong Botswana roots; Bokani is an Ikalanga word that means “give thanks”. He was born to a Motswana mother and Dyer a saxophonist, who was then a refugee in this country. It seems the musical bone has been passed on from father to son; his joint band with his father is called The Dyer Tribe which last performed in Gaborone at Botswana Craft on the 9th of August 2013.   


Bokani will perform among a cohort at the 5th GIMC which will be headlind by Philadelphia born Taalib Johnson who goes by the name, MUSIQ SOULCHILD. The show will be held at Molapo Stanbic Piazza. Sereetsi and the Natives will also perform. Bokani is one of South Africa’s leading jazz pianists, having played at both the country’s biggest jazz events being Standard Bank Joy of Jazz and Africa’s grandest gathering, The Cape Town International Jazz Festival (CTIJF) with an international line-up of top artists, and an exciting mix of home- grown talent.


He has recorded two albums under his own name; his debut album was released in 2010 and it provides a strong indication of the style and artistic trajectory he continues to pursue. His next offering was in 2011 titled Emancipating The Story which was made possible by the Standard Bank as part of the jazz young artist award. He took first prize in the SAMRO Overseas Scholarship Competition in August 2013.


2014 saw Bokani enjoying a sold out tour of Europe, performing in Germany, Switzerland, Prague and London. He is currently involved as a producer on upcoming albums- prolific afro- Latin percussionist, John Hassen and talented singer- song writer, Lana Crowster’s debut EP. Three years since his last release Bokani is currently in production of two solo albums to be released simultaneously later this year.


“Critics have remarked on his expressive style and skills which they say goes beyond his years and are creative in a wide array of jazz idioms” (Sunday Times). GIMC has previously hosted Grammy Award Winning artists from USA in the likes of Kirk Whalum, Jonathan Butler, as well as top comedians like Mr Ibu from Nigeria, Black Coffee, Cassper Nyovest, DJ Fresh just to name a few. The event has grown from strength to strength and has featured any and all top artists in Botswana.


GIMC 2018 has listed 50 artists covering the entire music and arts genre, a commendable feat that is welcome in local arts. However the event organizers said more artists are expected to be revealed including South Africa’s Master KG who has a large following in Botswana.
GIMC will kick start on September 1 with Musiq Soulchild, Sereetsi and The Natives, Samantha Mogwe, Bokani Dyer Trio, Motlha performances and will be preceded by the Champagne Picnic, Theatre, Poetry, Choral, Comedy and Festival.


Pabalinga said the festival venue of the 2018 event will be announced in due course as there are ongoing negotiations regarding the use of the National Stadium for music festivals. He however is very optimistic that he will get the venue since all the due diligence has been made regarding the process of acquiring the venue and payments have been made.

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