Valentines Day The Durban Way

Two award-winning South African musicians, 2 talented support acts, and a beautiful lawn filled with beautiful people celebrating love, each other and another great Durban summer evening. This was the scene of the first instalment of the Old Mutual Music at the Lakes series for 2020. And what a show it was.

From soft calming melodies form newcomer Lulu Lund, to songs that warmed your heart from the aspiring Angel Mazibuko, and finally a set filled with love, laughter and silly antics by the musically gifted Louise Carver and Ard Matthews; not to mention a walkabout through the crowd by Durban born and bred Ard.

The musical pair took to the stage and performed a combination of their favourites, swapping songs and surprising the crowd with heart-melting covers. It was a wonderful way to spend Valentine’s Day.

“Once again we are delighted by the amazing turn out at our Old Mutual Music at the Lake event this Valentine’s Day and we are equally delighted to sponsor a platform that inspires people’s passions and interests,” says Bandile Mngoma, sponsorship manager, Old Mutual Limited.


Christmas the Hot Water way... Is there any other?

Christmas is always a festive time all over the world, a time where friend and family celebrate life. In Africa there may not be snowflakes falling from the skies but, it is something quite extraordinarily spectacular to experience. There is nothing quite like the beauty of a starlit sky on Christmas Eve or the bright, golden sunrise greeting you on Christmas morning. 

Africa is filled with bright, colourful people and traditions. The diversity is something that fascinates. There is something about silly season in Africa that warms the heart and swells every citizen with pride and loyalty for a country that, let’s face it, has had its fair share of controversy over the years.

Whether a stayer or a leaver, there isn’t a day that goes by that a true African doesn’t long for the wonders of the country that holds such breath taking beauty within its boundaries.

Music is one thing that unites and African music does this tenfold. The strains of the late Johnny Clegg have the ability to bring a tear to the eye as memories flood your mind. 

The newest member to the maskanda family, Donovan Copley and his entourage Hot Water have filled a void in African music. Reminiscent of the offerings of Johnny Clegg, Hot Water give their own edge to catchy, colourful and meaningful tunes. 

The brightly coloured clothing, vibrant performances and of course the castrol can guitar are something that every African has to experience. Whether a fan of maskanda or not, Hot Water will have your toes tapping this festive season. You can’t help but feel the warmth, excitement, energy, passion and love for Africa in every track.



The Rockwood experience is one that is magical. The Theatre has achieved the perfect balance between delicious meals and shows that excite and showcase the talent on offer in the country. The events are ideal for sharing quality family time out and revelling in a wonderful cultural event. The new chef at the Rockwood Theatre serves up heavenly offerings fit for royalty. Beautiful presentation and strikingly distinct flavour is definitely the signature of something spectacular.  

The chairs filled, the lights dimmed and as the strains of Blue Monday were audible in the background, the music extravaganza took flight.  

Music is something that every person on Earth can relate to. Songs through your life often become the backdrop against which every event is played out. They have the power to spark a memory, bringing the past vividly into the present. One note has the ability to bring raw emotions, which have long since been buried, rushing forth.  

Saturday night at Rockwood Theatre, was a step back in time which was enjoyed in the moment. Hearing the songs of my childhood, and surprisingly singing along with ease, brought back the carefree times as well as the angst teenage years and allowed me to reminisce on events in my life that have moulded me into who I am today. Remembering friends, some who have not crossed my mind in many years and others with whom I still have regular contact but all so close to my heart and vivid in my memory at that very moment.

The 80’s to Now production at Rockwood Theatre is an absolutely fantastic show. Through the brilliance of the musical talent, the flawless choreography and the exquisite costumes, the cast was able to transport each and every member of the audience back to the 80’s, carry them on a journey through the 90’s and into the new millennium.  

The period between the 80’s and today is one that has been marked with so many proud and hopeful moments for South Africa. It is those moments that still keep the patriotic fires ablaze for so many. While many ponder leaving our shores, it is shows like this, phenomenal talent and the passion that only South African’s can radiate, that makes the decision a difficult one.  

Take a bow Rockwood, you are truly an African Gem.



Hot and Happening with the Parlotones

An excitable crowd gathered at Sugar Rush Park this Sunday afternoon for some beautiful weather and the final instalment of  the 2019 Marriott Ballito Beats Music Series. 

This Sunday the 6th of October, just over 1 300 locals got to enjoy the new and refreshing sounds of Angel Mazibuko, the unmistakably deep and husky FREDDY L and the world-class performance by award-winning South African favourites, The Parlotones.

Fans of all ages turned up to take advantage of the beautiful weather, enjoying the host of activities on offer at the family-favourite Sugar Rush Park in Ballito. A supervised Kids Zone, Bicycle track, Train track, Putt Putt and more were enough to keep the children entertained; while parents mingled with friends old and new and settled in for an afternoon of relaxing under a clear sky, listening to top quality South African music. Just another day, really, at a Marriott Ballito Beats concert.

Thank you Ballito. Once again you came out to enjoy the top quality music that we’re so proudly bringing to the North Coast,” says Stu Berry, Series Director. 

The very unique, and very special lifestyle-driven community vibe out here gives us a wonderful opportunity to help create a social and fun experiential offering for Ballito locals. We’re excited to get cracking on the 2020 line-up!”

Stay tuned to the Marriott Ballito Beats social media pages to find out which amazing South African talent will be visiting your hood in 2020.



Music at the Lake Goes Next Level

Durbanites, and out-of -owners who ventured to Botanical Gardens on Sunday, were rewarded for making the trip.       

The gardens came alive, the atmosphere filled with electricity and excitement.  Families and friends gathered in the glorious Durban sun, picnic baskets and blankets in hand, ready to enjoy the afternoon with some fine tunes and some good wholesome fun.     

First up was the musical duo Bad Peter who thrilled the audience with their relaxed demeanour and absolutely phenomenal musical talent. Their diverse musical arrangements and mix of blues, African, pop, folk and Latin sounds had the crowd mesmerised.  A tough act to follow.         

Rubber Duc, however, had no problem continuing the momentum and keeping the crowd's spirit at an all time high. The playful, full of fun character of the band only amplified the enthusiasm shared by the crowd.  

 Jeremy Loops took to the stage to wow an already vibrant and jovial crowd. The culmination of an afternoon in the sunshine that won't soon be  forgotten.  Jeremy involved his adoring fans in the song selections, providing a colourful mix of both old and new songs to his performance.  This is a group that is by far one of the most talented both musically and instrumentally that I have ever had the pleasure of watching perform. 

The day was certainly a  climax to the weekend for all who attended the event.                                



Burn The Floor at Isizulu Theatre Sibaya….All I can say is WOW!

This show created an entirely new dimension to ballroom dancing, one that the packed to the hilt audience absolutely revelled in. While I am extremely sad to have missed the show in person, the lovely Laura Wafer and her partner represented Eye on Zululand for the evening and she was literally bursting at the seams to share her excitement following the close of the curtains.

The 20 year celebration of the show ended with a bang on South African soil. The diverse entourage of performers compliment each other to perfection. Included in the mix are two South Africans, vocalist Lelo Ramasimong drummer Mike Swaga. These two truly make the term Proudly South African one that is felt and understood. 

Speaking with Laura directly after the show, she was filled with excitement and had this to say; "It was an absolutely beautiful evening, every dance showed and portrayed a different story filled with bottomless emotion. Jorja Freeman, one of the dancers, shared how being on the road for so long and experiencing so many different places and people had allowed them to view 'Burn the floor' as their forever home and there forever family. They were an extremely diverse group. People from all over the world joined forces to create an amazing dancing experience for the audience and for themselves! "

A huge thank you to Isizulu Theatre, Sibaya Casino and Entertainment World and the cast of Burn the Floor for allowing Eye on Zululand to celebrate such a momentous occasion with you all. 






Sugar Rush Park, Ballito, 11th August 2019

A cool breeze, shady trees and picnic baskets a plenty: this was the scene at the Marriott Ballito Beats concert this Sunday as Ballito locals were spoilt with a typically beautiful winter afternoon on the North Coast.

Over 1200 fans spent the last of their Women’s Day long weekend relaxing on the lawns of Sugar Rush Park to the sounds of Ard Matthews and Arno Carstens. The crowds enjoyed two lengthy solo sets by each of the award-winning artists, followed by a frivolous and entertaining collaboration with the two rock legends on stage together.

Local artist Miles Jacoby opened the show with a selection of covers and pop/rock originals. Jacoby has been playing music from the age of 6 and his love for his craft has taken him across the globe where he has learned and played extensively, refining and developing a deeper love for music. 

As a local artist, with an abundance of talent, Jacoby was the perfect opener for a fun and relaxed day out with family and friends. “What an honour is was opening for Ard Matthews and Arno Carstens,” says Jacoby. “These are two local musicians that I’ve been following for years and now I got the opportunity to join their line-up. What an awesome experience.”

Award-winning, best-selling, crowd-pleasing, platinum status artists; the Marriott Ballito Beats Music Series continues to offer the North Coast community an opportunity to see superb acts performing right in their very own backyard – adding fresh and exciting entertainment to the Ballito social scene.

Fans can expect one more show for 2019 at the Marriott Ballito Beats concert featuring The Parlotones on Sunday the 6th of October. Tickets are available via

Early bird tickets are available for R130, whereafter general access tickets will costs R150. Kids between 8-12 years of age cost R80 and Kids U8 are R20. Gates open at 1pm and ticket holders are welcome to bring camping chairs, picnic blankets, food and all beverage to make the most of the beautiful setting at Sugar Rush Park. 



Straight From The Source

It wasn't long ago that we shared the news of the new Hot Water album release and since then Maskanda, the Donovan Copley way, has exploded!  Eye on Zululand was lucky enough to experience the brilliance that is Hot Water at the Botanical Gardens in Durban during the Old Mutual Music at the Lake Series. We managed to get some one on one time and find out exactly what makes this music phenomenon tick! 

1.  Tell me a little bit about the members of the band?

I have one condition in terms of who I work with: I must love working with them and they must love what they do! I've been working Xoliswa for six years and she’s just such a blessing - a huge talent that expresses pure joy on stage and really gets what Hot Water is about - I love her. When Xoliswa was pregnant some time back and couldn’t travel to a big show we had in India - I asked her to find someone to go in her place - she found the amazing Phumelela.  Now I’ve ended up having both of them on stage for the full version of the band! I am blessed!

2.  Where did you all meet?

It’s been such an adventure finding the right musicians who align with the vision that is Hot Water. It has been a series of fortunate events that have linked us all together.

3.  The diversity in the band is visually apparent, however the music produced is nothing short of fluid and natural for all of you. How did you get this perfect balance and blend right?

My Mom tells me that from very young I liked Township style music and connected with African culture. So when I started playing music it came out as a blend of South African styles. The choice of musicians reflect this natural mix and flowed organically from the music that I write.

4.  While you mentioned you were inspired by a few bands you saw at Splashy Fen a few years back, can you elaborate on that?

Music starts with a feeling for me. I saw this amazing Maskanda band at Splashy in 2010. I was gripped by the style.

5.  I am sure many people compare you with the great Johnny Clegg ( I think I did as well when I met you at Splashy this year), is there any relationship between you and Johnny and does he give you any practical criticism and advice when it comes to your music?

I have had the amazing honour and privilege of meeting and being with Johnny Clegg many times and having his support has been nothing short of miraculous. 

It was listening to Juluka when I was 9 years old - while away from home whilst living in America for a year - tht my heart was opened to the spirit Johnny represents.

6.  You have been travelling all over the country this year promoting your music and colourful lifestyle, is there any one place in particular that you are drawn to?

I just love performing in South Africa. Its always a treat to visit the rolling hills of KZN and be held by the power inherent in the land here.

7.  Do you have a favourite venue and why?

Kirstenbosch Gardens (CT) because it launched my career and House on Fire (Swaziland) because it truly is "a house on fire".

8.  I am sure that you have a huge fan base, any strange gifts from fans that stick out in your mind?

A fan in Germany, having seen the bottle tops on my blik guitar, sent me a big box of bottle tops as well as a large blanket with my face printed on it!

9.  In a day where selfies are the new autographs, do you prefer the old school pen and paper autographs or the selfie snaps?

I prefer the selfies. It connects more.

10.  Are any of the band members married and how does this affect touring?

Almost all the musicians I work with are married and most of them have children. Hot Water is a bit of a ‘family band’. With three kids of my own and family and home life being really important to me I tend to keep tours and shows very focused and we are not often away from home for too long.

11.  Where did the Castrol can guitar originate?

The original can guitars came out of South African townships as an ingenious way of making an acoustic guitar.

12.  Are there any pre-show ritual that any of the members follow?

I like to create each show as a new blank canvas, so I will often say to myself and the team “Let’s put all other shows aside and this is completely its own show”.  Doing this consciously, creates the space for every show to be its own unique experience and interaction with an audience.

13.  Do you have any outrageous expectations from event organisers?

One of the items on our Hospitality Rider is biltong. It's interesting to see what organisers at our international shows do with this. :)

14.  What do you do in your spare time to recharge or wind down?

I walk up the mountain. I get into cold water every day.

15.  Do you spend much time as friends when you aren’t performing or touring?

No, being ‘friends’ is not what makes Hot Water powerful - it's the alignment and shared vision at the base of our connection that creates the Hot Water show that people get to experience.

16.  Who writes the songs you produce? One person in particular or is a joint affair?

I write all the songs and, for example, when it came to the last album ‘Lifeline” I performed all the parts on the record. When it comes to live performances, I love creating the space for each musician to deliver their unique magic.

17.  Can you play any other instrument?

Yes! I actually played all the instruments on Hot Water’s latest album.

18.  Is Zulu a fluent language for you Donovan?

No! The African language that I speak fluently is Rhythm.

19.  Will Hot Water be travelling the world and more importantly will Hot Water always return to their roots in South Africa when they do go abroad?

We have been performing internationally for a decade. Of all the countries we have visited South Africa still wins hands down. 

It was extremely refreshing speaking with this colourful, bubbly and passionate individual who reminds us of the wonders that beautiful South Africa holds hidden amid the mists of the present uncertainty. 

It is an absolute honour to refer to Donovan as a friend. 

Hot Water is well on their way to unbelievable heights. What better ambassador for our country than one who truly loves and lives it! 


Hot Water

Breaking News! Hot New Album Steaming Up the Charts!


The term may take you back to a beshu-clad Johnny Clegg, but brace yourselves, there’s a new breed of Maskanda in town. Donovan and Hot Water have taken the genre to an entirely mind-blowing level. As the first notes are played, the auditory experience is spectacular. This is the kind of music that gets your hips swaying, your toes tapping and the corners of your mouth turning upwards and there is nothing you can do to stop it. 

Colourful and energetic are the first words that spring to mind. What they exude in flair and confidence is equally matched by enthusiasm and talent. Hot Water is the new hot Maskanda band on the market. They are definitely forging a path that many will struggle to follow and very few will forget.

I was lucky enough to catch the band in a live performance at Splashy Fen this year and all I can say is WOW! This is a sensory overload second to none. It leaves you pining for more when its over. 

Donovan shared their latest album with me recently and it is definitely one that has to be added to your collection regardless of your music preferences. Hot Water produces sounds that anybody will enjoy. The album, titled Lifeline, lives up to all expectations and more. From the very first song, excitement begins to grow and as each song progresses the feeling is heightened. Listening to the tracks you can’t help but conjure up visions of brightly clad traditional ladies shaking what they were born with, with a rhythm that is unfounded. Isn’t that what personifies South Africa? Hot Water has managed to strip the barriers down and leave the bare, beating heart of Africa open for all to see. For those living abroad, Africa awaits in all it’s glory and Hot Water is the pied piper calling you home.

The album is a feel-good music experience that embraces the proudly South African mantra!

Go out and get this album today...put on those rose-tinted glasses and see South Africa as it should be seen...

Hot Water - Lifeline

  • No More Darkness
  • Secrets
  • Chakalaka
  • Lifeline
  • Maria
  • Mamawetu
  • Old Man
  • My Disguise
  • My Calling
  • Springbok Amandla

Watch this space as we get a chance to find out who Hot Water really is….Exciting things ahead!



Rocking Botanical Gardens

Well, the dust has finally settled on an absolutely amazing day out at the Botanical Gardens in Durban for the opening of the Old Mutual Music at the Lake Series. There was certainly no better way to spend your Sunday afternoon than rocking to South African musicians in such a picturesque setting. Old Mutual, ECR and Impi Events put together an amazing display of what South Africa has to offer in the musical and entertainment arena.

Sprawled out on the lush, green grass on a blanket or camp chair was how most started the afternoon, however, I can assure you that by the end of it, everybody, and I do mean everybody was on their feet sharing in the electric atmosphere and revelling in the phenomenal music on offer. 

The afternoon started off with a soulful, jazzy performance by the extremely talented Nipho Hurd. If you haven't heard this lady sing then you are missing out on one of South Africa's finest. The tempo was the perfect way to get the afternoon's festivities in swing.

Next up was the vibrant, exciting, entertaining antics of Hot Water, and yes they can belt out tunes with the best of them. Donovan has a way of working the audience into a frenzy with his colourful personality and truly African influenced sound. Young and old jived their afternoon away with reckless abandon. The Hot Water Duo were a highlight of my day! The surprise of the afternoon was the addition of Menzi Mngoma to the Hot Water act. Menzi is the Uber driver whose video went viral and he most definitely proved why. The unusual combination of the two music styles is something that you won't hear again any time soon....simply fantastic and in every way unexpected.

With the 3000-strong crowd now ready for a party, MiCasa took to the stage. The sultry, Latino styled musician with the dance moves to match set the ladies hearts aflutter. MiCasa shared some of their new songs and kept the audience entertained with their exceptional performance. 

Gazing across the lawns of the Botanical Gardens on Sunday left me with a feeling of warmth and encouragement for our beautiful country. A rainbow nation united in their love of music and dance, even if just for a Sunday afternoon.


Project Performer

Stars in the Making


 The past weekend proved to be so much more exciting than we, at Eye on Zululand, could ever have dreamed.   

 On Saturday night we accepted an invitation to a showcase at Rockwood Theatre Sibaya that would leave us completely shocked at    the talent held within our country. We were absolutely shell-shocked by the level of singing, dancing and acting on show.   There are performers in South Africa who have what it takes to make it to the top, and you can be assured that many were present on  that stage on Saturday night. 

Something that truly hit home was the sheer good fellowship amongst contestants. Yes, it was a competition, but to me the contestants came across as a family, having endured the same journey, each supporting the next with enthusiasm and sincerity.   

The Project Performer initiative is the brainchild of Shylo Pereira who has nurtured it with passion and love for both the performing arts and the artists whom she has spent countless hours  alongside, guiding on a path to achieve the best that they can, and more.


The platform is the first of its kind in South Africa. Aspiring artists and creatives have an opportunity to grow in a business that can so often be cut throat,   leaving many feeling disheartened. Education is key and this is provided in abundance. Heavy weights in the industry have rallied together in support of the initiative to provide guidance and direction to motivate success. 

With a platform like this one, there is no need for aspiring individuals   to travel abroad to gain the exposure they require in an extremely tumultuous industry.   

 The wonderful thing about this project is that it incorporates every aspect of performing arts. Whether you are a singer or songwriter in any genre, a dancer,  one who revels in theatrics or simply a classical music enthusiast, there is a place for you within this initiative.    

 Project Performer opens doors for budding artists and gives them the wings to fly. Hard work, dedication and a willingness to learn from the best in the industry is a recipe for success.    

 Project Performer has set its goals on keeping our talent where it belongs, in South Africa.   

 Are you one of the aspiring, talented creatives seeking you way in the daunting performance industry? Now is your time to shine! Entry forms for the 2020 Project Performer are available on the website, auditions begin next month. 

Don't miss out on the opportunity of   a liftetime…..   


Paula Gruben

Journey from adoptee to finding her birth parents, realisation that nothing would ever be the same.

Paula may not be from Zululand, but her story is one that will touch the hearts and lives of many who find themselves drowning in a sea of confusion and despair through their own adoption journey. Paula hails from Durban, just a short drive up the coast from Zululand.

At face value, Paula Gruben may appear just like any other young, vibrant, ambitious woman but nothing could be further from the truth. While she does possess all the mentioned traits, her passion is what pushes her above and beyond the limits. Paula has that x-factor that so many spend their entire lifetime developing.

The Background

As a child born into adoption, Paula was destined to suffer heartache, confusion, and frustration but for this warrior woman, a victorious ending was not negotiable. She was aware from an early age that she was blessed with two sets of parents. The loving parents who raised her, and with whom she often butted heads, and her birth parents who had given her up for adoption on the day she entered this life. She knew that somewhere out there in the world were the answers she was seeking about who she really was. Paula knew that she would only truly know herself once this piece of the puzzle was put in place. Tragic events in the life of a friend close to her set her on a chaotic path. Self-destructive behaviour and anti-social tendencies were the results of deeply rooted uncertainty about her past and her own identity. The strain placed on the relationship with her adoptive parents was tremendous. Paula had to find answers.

At twenty-one years of age, her adoption files were eventually unsealed allowing her to delve into her past. What she found set her on a path to enlightenment. A heart-wrenching letter from her birth mother the trigger.  A dream became reality when shortly thereafter Paula met her birth mother and a few years later her birth father. While these relationships have prospered and grown, the one that she has known for most of her life, that with her adoptive parents, has deteriorated to an almost non-existent state.

While many adoptees go through the very same trials and tribulations, few are determined enough and as fearless in their search for the truth.

Paula's life has been filled with unexpected twists and turns, adoption and the journey to discovery are only a small part of it. After a decade of courtship, Paula wed her long-time love and best friend. While Paula was never quite decided on the idea of children, fate had other plans for her. Her son was born after a seven-month pregnancy much to her surprise. Whatever life has thrown her way, she has handled with grace. Regardless of the obstacles placed in her path, it always looped back to her story, the one she had to write. She could only imagine how devastating it must have been for her birth mother to let her go and the nervous elation her adoptive mother must have felt at being granted this gift.

The Book - Seeds Carefully Nurtured With the Greatest Care

Paula’s self-published book “Umbilicus” is a heartfelt, sincere and honest account of the journey through her eyes. Her writing is raw with emotion. As an author she has risked so much for a story she knew she had to share. It is evident throughout that this is a labour of love. The care with which she has put her words together, the sometimes brutal honesty and the explicit attention to detail reveal how much of herself she has given to telling her story to the world.

Inspirational and Motivational

Paula has gone on to use her experiences, good and bad, to inspire hope in others and encourage them to pursue the truth regardless of the fallout that is sure to follow. Her obviously personal and heartfelt account of events has helped adoptees globally to understand their own thoughts and feelings and to realise that they too are only human after all.

Being an adoptee does not mean you are doomed to live with disappointment and Paula has proved that without a doubt. She is living, breathing proof that there is happiness, success, love, and life to the fullest, after adoption.

Paula's journey from that wilful, strong-minded teen to the successful, self-published author she is today is a testament to her tremendous strength, courage and relentless pursuit of happiness.

Having met and grown very close to Paula during those somewhat tumultuous teen years, it was apparent from the very beginning that this woman was going places, and she certainly didn't disappoint. Umbilicus is definitely not the last you will hear from her.

“Someone I loved once

gave me a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand

that this, too, was a gift.”

- Mary Oliver