One of the nicest tours I had done in a long time was with, the wonderful American singer/songwriter, Amber Rubarth. In February 2016 we did a ten show tour of the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. I was back on home soil and was kind of the tour guide for what turned out to be a real special 3 weeks on the road.
Eight of our ten shows were sold out and it almost like God had his hand on the whole operation, from flights, long travel days, sound checks, awesome weather and more importantly playing our hearts out for those who came to support. Normally when you introduce a new guest to your world, one always hopes that the elements fall into place, and they surely did. I was proud to be a South African, showing Amber the beauty of our multi-cultural and beloved country. especially, KwaZulu, Natal.
In between shows, there was time to visit the hussle and bussle of Durban and surrounds. I also explained, that one hadn’t lived until they have eaten a ‘bunny chow’! This is a unique meal discovered more than half a century ago in Durban, a fresh quarter loaf of bread, filled with delicious local curry. Truly a religious experience.
Before our final show in rural Zululand, we managed to visit one of the majestic game parks, Umfolozi.
When life is so good to you, a form of thanks giving is to give back to the community. At our final show at a wonderful venue , ‘The house in Zululand‘ in the rural town of Eshowe, we were invited by the wonderful people of Zulufadder to come and play for the children there.
Zulufadder is a nonprofit sponsor organisation helping children and their families. It is run by Silvia Hellesvik, her husband Nick Phillips and 35 local employees. They are registered as an NGO in Norway and South Africa.
Contributions go directly to the child in terms of food parcels, school uniforms and other needs, such as a trip to the doctor. It was a beautiful humbling experience which I know changed Amber’s life. She will be giving a proceed from her upcoming album, ‘Wild flowers in the Graveyard’ to Zulufadder.
I was blown away by their local arts and crafts and commissioned a vibrant, 18 year old, Fanele Zulu to make me some hip, NIBS keyrings.
Fanele has such a beautiful story. When he was still a child he use to make toy cars out of wire. His designs and craftsmanship were special, that everybody knew from an early age that Fanele had something going. His parents only wanted him to do well at school, but a family friend encouraged him to develop his crafting skills. Now, through Zulufadder, Fanele is doing incredible bead and wire work. He dreams of someday owning his own shop and earning enough money to support himself and help his family. He also dreams of travelling to London and furthering his horisons. I follow him on Instagram @zulufanele, where he regularly displays his new creations.
I also had a lovely team of ladies hand-make and design some exclusive Zulu bracelets. These along with Fanele’s guitars can be purchased off my site and all the proceeds go back to artists and Zulufadder. Also, If you are interested in checking out what this wonderful organisation does, check out their site –
In closing, I want to wish you a wonderful 2017. Thank you for all your wonderful support you have given me. I am eternally grateful to all of you. I am very happy to be kicking off the year with a little tour of KwaZulu with my dear friend, Guy Buttery. It starts at the end of January. We have been working on a whole bunch of new tunes which has been wonderful. Who knows!!! They might just end up on a new Guy & Nibs album. I am also finalising the dates for an extensive, ‘Natalia‘, tour around South Africa in February and March. There is also talk that Amber might be returning to join me for another tour here later in the year. All the dates will be posted soon.
Blessings and light!
*photos courtesy of Kevin McDonald and Silvia Hellesvik