Sabubela – The Peoples Percussionist


“Through his music Sabu aims to give an African history lesson and provoke the mind of his audience, while preserving African stories…

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Siyabulela is a multi-instrumentalist, musical practitioner and co-founder of South African groups Abavuki and Addis Ababa Ensemble from KwaLanga Township in Cape Town South Africa. For 15 years Sabu has performed for audiences in different corners of the world and released multiple albums with his group Abavuki.“He recently completed his post graduate studies in African Music Performance in the Ethnomusicology Department at the University of Cape Town (UCT).” Over the past years, I have come to Know Siyabulela Jiyana as a strong minded and dedicated individual who approaches his musical studies with integrity and ability. He is a very capable performer who excels on many musical instruments bat is above all an excellent percussionist and Marimba player. Mr Jiyana currently is a graduate student in our African Performance Program, not only does he participate enthusiastically in all our concerts, but is already a veteran and well-travelled performer in his own right.”

Paul Rommelacre – Lecturer in African Music

4 February 2016

After 15 years of travelling the world and performing at some of the biggest festivals with his group Abavuki, Sabu has decided to embark on a solo career. He is incorporating indigenous African instruments with some western instruments, deliberately allowing the indigenous instruments to take the lead and utilizing a high volume of African music aesthetics principles naming his music “The Pan African Fusion.”

Sabu is influenced and inspired by Afrika, its dynamics and those who have put African music on the map, artists like Dizu Plaaitjies(whom he has performed with and travelled internationally with) Fela Kuti, Miriam Makeba, Salief Keita to mention just a few.Through his music Sabu aims to give an African history lesson and provoke the mind of his audience, while preserving African stories, indigenous instruments, African languages, culture and dignity.

Notable Achievements & Performances

– 2003 and 2004: Played at the World’s Children’s Prize Award ceremony for the Queen of Sweden
– 2005: Played at the market theatre for the announcement of Nelson Mandela’s nomination for the World Children’s Prize
– 2006: Recorded an album for the 50th Anniversary of Motown Records (Abavuki)
– 2008 : Won the Artscape Indigenous Arts Competition which he co-directed (Abavuki)
– 2010 : Played on the Viking Ferry in between Finland and Sweden. (Abavuki)
– 2012 : Played in Oman, invited by the government with Dizu Plaatjies and his Ibuyambo Ensemble
– 2012: Invited to play and do master classes in Mexico at the Chiapas University, and played at the Chiapa Marimba Festival
– 2014: Created two ringtones for Nokia as part of the Cape Town Design capital campaign
– 2014: Played at the WOMEX Festival in Spain
– 2014: Played at the Marimba festival in Chiapas
– 2015: Recorded for a Fiat Motor commercial
– 2015: Performed at the World Music and Food Festival in Bangkok
– 2015: Performed at the following festivals in Europe: Ethnoport(Poland), Respekt fest(Czech republic), Oaral fest (Holland), Hout fest (Holland), Fusion fest (Germany), Afrika fest (Holland), Somer van Antwerpen fest (Belgium), colours of Ostrava (Czech republic), Festival der kulturen (Germany), Okarina fest (Slovenia), Folkveprazdniny (Czech republic), bardentreffen( Germany). (Abavuki)
– 2016: Co-wrote for Jen Johns Album. Won Best Musical Director at the Zabalaza Festival

Sabu cover pic


My music is educational, I want everyone from a kid at daycare to a CEO to listen to my music, my music talk about things that should have happened, things that happened, things that should happen and how they should happen.

I would love to think that my music plays a role of finding solutions for African problems, instead of just being entertainment and/or just a source of revenue.

Goals for the next three years uuhmmmmm, my one wish is that by the end of next year, South Africa will have a new genre pioneered by me of course, called “conscious music/arts”. This will be challenging sensitive topics, from local, continental and world politics.

My music is very unusual, and people still need to get used to the approach, so it will take some time for people to get used to it, and also the instruments that I am using are not usual, mostly my narrative is not something that you find in our radios and television.

I am currently working on the music that I am going to record, and its going well. I plan to complete this recording project by end of August. I am also planning a tour to Mozambique and Kenya towards the end of June and beginning of July.

Contact me on: 078 504 1880,


Facebook page: Sabu Jiyana/ @thepeoplespercussionist

Or my manager: Sakhile Gcozana : 081 454 1710


For more information go to


Links to my musical works:

Manenberg on Mibra



Tswana Sotho Medley





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