The Legendary Sylvia "Mama Kaap" Mdunyelwa

Unearthing raw and hidden talent to promote economic participation within impoverished communities

Sylvia Mdunyelwa legacy foundation’s vision is to unearth raw and hidden talent and utilize the foundation as a springboard for young people’s talent.

About Sylvia Mdunyelwa

Award winning Jazz music icon of over 6 decades

A monument of wisdom, a well of knowledge, an icon and a beacon of our South African youth, Syvia Ncediwe Mdunyelwa, was born in the dusty township of Langa, in Cape Town, South Afria,  more than 7 decades ago.

With more than 60 years in the arts industry, and many accolades to herself, she has done visible and invisible applaudable work of
mentoring big names within the South African Music industry. To name a few, Brenda Fassie, Ringo Mandlingozi, Dumza Maswana and Mcoy Mrubata are some of the great names who were her protégés.

Sylvia’s passion for music resulted in an interest in educating the youth about traditional South African jazz. She is dedicated to passing on her extensive knowledge of music to the younger generation, mentoring young musicians and exposing them to the wider world of music.

What sets the Sylvia Mdunyelwa's Legacy Foundation apart and why support it?

Sylvia Mdunyelwa’s Legacy Foundation is a non-profit organization, committed to advancing equality, visibility and opportunities for impoverished youth in the musical arts through education, support, empowerment and recognition.

Committed to nurturing artistic talents through performance.

We are committed to nurturing musical talent and excellence, by offering many opportunities for young people to develop their skills. Our mission is to also circulate an open economy, by hosting showcasing concerts, which will simultaneously assist in sustaining the foundation.

Sylvia Mdunyelwa passes on..

"Mama Kaap", as affectionately known in her home town, Sylvia Sis Nce Mdunyelwa, passed away on 25 August at the age of 74 and was laid to rest on 2 September 2023.
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Rest in eternal peace Magaba, Cihoshe, Thithiba, Nozinga, Ntomb'omlambo... You will be sorely missed...

500+

Perfomances

130+

Youth Mentored

10+

Awards

45+

International Performances

Awards & Recognitions

During her career life span, Sylvia has bagged the following awards and recognition;

Arts & Culture Women Tribute

Tribute to women musicians who contributed to the body of South African music both in and out of the country, who flew the flag of democracy and popularized SA'n struggle throughout the world.

Outstanding Patronage Award

The Arts Patronage Award a way of acknowledging the essential role that patrons play in advancing various aspects of the arts around their communities, the country and around the world.

Film Festival Best Actress Winner Award

Film Festival Award is given to an actress who has delivered an outstanding performance and chosen by the jury from the films in official competition slate at the festival.

IMSFF Media Short Film Award

The Independent Mzansi Short Film Festival (IMSFF) mission is to present quality short films. It recognize and honour filmmakers creating a films under ±25 minutes. Sylvia won Best Actress in short film.

Outstanding Contribution to Arts & Culture Award

It is awarded to South Africans who have excelled and made a meaningful contribution in the fields of arts, culture, literature, music, journalism and sports in their Provinces.

Western Province Cultural Award

This award celebrates individuals and organizations who have made a significant contribution in the sectors of arts, culture, language, libraries, archives, heritage and museums across the province.

Sylvia's Career Highlights

Sylvia has performed at many high-profile events alongside legendary musicians.

Performing for the late Nelson Mandela

One of Sylvia’s career highlights was performing the Click Song for former President Nelson Mandela at Green Dolphin, a Cape Town jazz venue. She also performed for him at the opening of the Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island.

Educational Opprtunities Council Award

During the early 1990s, Sylvia led a youth group to Canada where they participated in the International Children's Festival. The Educational Opportunities Council then awarded her a grant to further her music studies in the United States at the University of California in Los Angeles.

Perfomance at the Berlin Jazz Festival

In the 1990’s, she performed at the Berlin Jazz Festival. In the 2000’s she was invited to perform in Tokyo, Japan with Ezra Ngcukana and Feya Faku in her band. Sylvia was one of the first South African jazz artists to mesmerise audiences at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Hague in the Netherlands.

Bestowed a Lifetime Achievement Award

Sylvia has performed alongside of the African jazz musician Jimmy Dludlu at a few of her performances. She has performed in Johannesburg, at the Joy of Jazz Festival, where she was bestowed with a lifetime achievement award.

Collaboration with Jazz Diva Sibongile Khumalo

In 2007, Sylvia produced ‘Sistas Healing Our Souls’, a collaborative performance that featured various top South African jazz divas, which included local musicians Abigail Kubeka, Sibongile Khumalo, Tandie Klaasen, Dorothy Masuka, Tina Schouw, and Gloria Bosman.

Performing for Natalie Cole

Another highlight for Sylvia was performing for the great Natalie Cole at the V&A Waterfront. Natalie was so moved by Sylvia’s performance that she woke her band to join her at the restaurant, where she then got up and performed. Sylvia recalls the night as one of her most exhilarating memories.

Support the Foundation

The donations that we receive play a vital role to ensure we continue to unearth raw talent from the disadvantaged communities, nurture it and deliver live performances on stage, so that we can help provide an income for young people whilst sustaining the foundation. Please consider making a donation the following ways and help keep the music legacy alive in our communities.

Become a Regular Annual Funding Member

Regular Annual Membership is an opportunity to share in the life of the Sylvia Mdunyelwa Legacy Foundation, and is the simplest way to make a monthly gift in support of our work on and off the stage. With Annual Memberships you sign up for a recurring monthly payment gift of R500 to any amount and get free VIP tickets.

Become a Corporate or Government Sponsor

With this option you will help sponsor a series of concerts, to supporting our work with local communities. You will enjoy a series of benefits, tailored to the needs of your business. As our corporate supporter, we can occasionally also perform for you and your guests and you can enjoy the very best in live music.

Fundraise for us and make a difference

Help the Sylvia Mdunyelwa Legacy Foundation by raising funds. Organize for us to perform at a celebration of a wedding, work event or special occasion for a flat fee. Your fundraising could help make a difference for the youth we aim to empower, helping them to stay out of drugs, prevent teen pregnancy and achieve their dreams.

Office Location

We currently use Guga S’thebe Center house as our meeting area. The centre is a Langa Tourism Office as well as a craft and pottery workshop. There is also a performance stage where children practice arts and play African marimba music. 

Cape Town

Guga Sthebe, Washington St, Langa, Cape Town, 7455.
+1 12345 67890