May 2024: 12 Top Events to Look Forward To

'Train' band group photo

Though the days have grown shorter, the nights have become longer, and the once-warm breeze continues to grow chillier, the 2024 selection of things to do in May provides the perfect excuse to get out of the house and enjoy some unforgettable experiences.

From dramatic plays to eye-opening exhibitions, once-in-a-lifetime live experiences to delightful food and drink events, and challenging sporting activities, there is no shortage of fun to be had this May.

A black-and-white image of Atandwa Kani and Carla Smith as Othello and Desdemona

Othello: South African premiere of Lara Foot’s take on Shakespeare’s classic tale of betrayal

The Baxter presents the South African premiere of Lara Foot’s highly acclaimed ‘Othello.’ Foot’s version of Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’, debuted at the Düsseldorf Schauspielhaus in Germany in September 2022 to celebrated praise, earning her the Gustaf Theatre Award 2023 for Outstanding Artistic Achievement for Direction.

In this South African production, with design by Gerhard Marx and music by Kyle Shepherd, Foot focuses on Othello’s inner life, wanting to add an African perspective, staging the play in several languages and relocating it to the time of German colonialism. The production features a stellar cast led by Atandwa Kani as Othello, Albert Pretorius as Iago, and Carla Smit as Desdemona.

Cost: R200 – R400pp, book via Webticket

When: 6 Apr to 4 May | Various showings at 11am, 2pm and/or 7.30pm
Where: The Pam Golding Theatre at The Baxter, Main Rd, Rondebosch, Cape Town

Ancient Oracle Bone script

Oracle Bone Script Art Exhibition: A celebration of the source of Chinese writing

The ‘Spirits on Turtle Shells and Cattle Bones: Oracle Bone Script Art Exhibition’ introduces oracle bone scripts through paintings. Oracle bone inscriptions – the source of Chinese characters – are the lifeblood of esteemed traditional Chinese culture and present a captivating entry point for delving into the depths of the Chinese cultural heritage.

A notable attraction in the exhibition is China’s first set of picture books, a product of a three-year collaboration among experts in oracle bone scripts, illustrators, and graphic designers. The exhibition also includes a showcase of the creative process behind the picture books, offering a glimpse into their making.

These books showcase a diverse collection of over 70 oracle bone scripts, each deeply intertwined with our world and covering a wide range of topics: astronomy and geography, deities and ancestors, the miracles of life, human relationships, bodily organs, domestic scenes, fishing and hunting, feast and merriment, birds and beasts, and the animate world of plants.

Cost: Free

When: 19 Apr to 5 May, 10am to 5pm daily
Where: Learning Centre, Groot Constantia, Cape Town

'Train' band group photo

Train: ‘I Know, It’s Been a Long Time Coming’ tour

American pop band, Train’s, highly anticipated ‘I Know, It’s Been a Long Time Coming’ comes to Cape Town for an epic night of filled with their most iconic hits from their three-decades long career.

Since their formation in 1994, Train has had 14 songs on Billboard’s Hot 100, 13 albums on the Billboard 200 chart, and has sold more than 10 million albums and 30 million tracks worldwide. Audiences get the chance of a lifetime to experience and sing along to fan favourites such as “Hey, Soul Sister,” “Drops of Jupiter” and more, live.

The accompanying band lineup for the tour includes frontman Pat Monahan (lead vocals), Hector Maldonado (bass, vocals), Jerry Becker (keyboards, vocals), Taylor Locke (guitar, vocals), Matt Musty (drums), Sakai Smith (backup vocals), and Nikita Houston (backup vocals).

Cost: R795-R1195pp, book via Webtickets

When: 9 May, from 6pm
Where: Green Point Cricket Club, 111 Vlei Rd, Green Point, Cape Town

An exhibit piece, made out of rubber, to look like a woman

Spier Exhibition: Patrick Bongoy

Patrick Bongoy’s work is making waves in addressing environmental challenges. Bongoy’s latest exhibition, ‘Ebbing,’ offers a unique perspective on the planet’s dilemma and the potential for positive change. His work aims to not only address pressing issues of waste and pollution but also redefine the role of art in promoting sustainability.

By repurposing discarded materials, Bongoy brings attention to the urgency of environmental challenges while showcasing innovative solutions. Bongoy gives new life to what others would consider as trash. Rubber features prominently in his work, symbolising the direct pollution and destruction that comes from its creation, as well as the social, political and economic issues stemming from it.

As society increasingly grapples with environmental concerns, this creative narrative captures the zeitgeist and provides a platform for discussions around the global impact of waste and the transformative power of art.

Cost: Free

When: 12 Feb to 12 May, 9am – 5pm daily
Where: Spier Wine Farm, R310 Baden Powell Dr, Stellenbosch

The Amadeus cast performing onstage

Amadeus: Alan Committie stars in a revival of Peter Schaffer’s classic text

This thrilling drama has all the elements: suspense, comedy, rousing music and great characters. It is Antonio Salieri’s passionate telling of his act of vengeance in response to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In the court of the Austrian Emperor Joseph II, Salieri is the established composer when the greatest musical symphonist of all time, Mozart, enters the picture.

Salieri has given himself to God so that he might realise his sole ambition, to be a great melodist. Mozart, however, is a foul-mouthed, graceless oaf who has that which is beyond Salieri’s envious grasp: genius. The play offers a gripping, intriguing study of the roots of envy and the haphazard nature of genius.

Award winning director – Geoff Hyland – takes the helm of Amadeus with two-time Fleur du Cap Best Actor winner, Alan Committie as Antonio Salieri. Amadeus is presented by Gloucester Productions in partnership with Carolyn Steyn and Siv Ngesi and with permission by Concord Theatricals Ltd.

Cost: R180 – R300pp, book via Webtickets

When: 17 Apr to 18 May| Tues to Fri, 7.30pm | Sat, 3pm and 7.30pm
Where: Pieter Toerien’s Theatre on the Bay, 1 Link Street, Camps Bay, Cape Town

Attendees look at books set up at various stalls

Franschhoek Literary Festival: South Africa’s literary event of the year

This year’s instalment of the Franschhoek Literary Festival offers a captivating lineup of renowned local, pan-African and international authors. The festival also boasts an eclectic mix of voices from various genres, providing attendees with a unique opportunity to engage with celebrated authors and discover new literary gems.

The programme offers an enriching experience featuring a wide variety of thought-provoking panel discussions, in-depth author interviews, interactive writing workshops and poetry readings; and Melodies in Words, an evening of artsong and poetry inspired by literature.

Attendees can expect to delve into the minds of their favourite authors, participate in engaging conversations and gain insights into the creative process behind some of today’s most compelling works. The festival’s jam-packed programme can be found on the Franschhoek Literary Festival website.

Cost: From R50-R500pp (Tickets are bought for each session), book via Webtickets

When: 17 to 19 May, from 9am daily
Where: Huguenot street, Franschhoek, Western Cape

Boy Kills World headshot - May events

‘Boy Kills World’: The internationally collaborated action film arrives in South African cinemas

‘Boy Kills World’ is a 2023 fever dream action film about Boy, a deaf-mute with a vibrant imagination. When Boy’s family is murdered in his youth, he is trained by a mysterious shaman to become an instrument of death and avenge his family many years after their deaths. The film is directed by German director, Moritz Mohr and produced by Sam Raimi, director of the beloved Spider-Man trilogy starring Tobey Maguire.

Starring as the titular Boy character is the talented Bill Skarsgård of the famous Skarsgård family, who catapulted to fame after playing Pennywise in the 2017 horror hit, ‘It.’ The film is an international collaboration, featuring a cast and crew made up of talents from across the world, including South Africa-based Nthibah Pictures who represent one of the film’s contributing production companies.

The film was also shot in Cape Town, South Africa. The final product of this worldwide collaboration opens in Numetro, Ster Kinekor, and independent cinemas around the country on Friday, 26 April.

Cost: Varies depending on the chosen cinema

When: Opens 26 Apr
Where: Various cinemas across South Africa

A closeup of a group of ladies making a cheers with wine glasses - May events

Durbanville Sauvignon Soirée: Sip, savour, and celebrate Sauvignon Blanc in style

Spend International Sauvignon Blanc Day at the Durbanville Sauvignon Soirée, enjoying an exclusive tasting journey through the cool climate valley, featuring the finest local Sauvignon Blancs curated by passionate winemakers.

Discover the ageability of this beloved varietal with a special showcase of international selections and the top 10 Sauvignon Blancs from 2020 by Sauvignon SA. Plus, be the first to taste the highly anticipated Durbanville Sauvignon Blanc 2024, a collaboration wine crafted by the members of the Durbanville Wine Valley.

Each ticket includes tastings of 10 different producers’ Sauvignon Blanc, two arrival Canapes by Cassia Restaurant, international wines from France and Italy, and live music by professional jazz, funk, blues and swing acoustic guitar player, Jacob Swann. Attendees who wish to make a reservation for dinner at Cassia Restaurant after the tastings, can organise via phone.

Cost: R250pp, book via  Quicket

When: 3 May, 5pm to 8pm
Where: Cassia Restaurant, Nitida Wine Farm Tygerberg Valley Road, Durbanville, Cape Town

Things to do in May: Cape Town International Jazz Festival

Cape Town International Jazz Festival: Reset, Connect and Revive Your Rhythm

The Cape Town International Jazz Festival returns for another two-day extravaganza featuring a fantastic selection of local and international jazz acts set to move attendees to their feet. Always known to ignite stages and connect music lovers, this 21st edition of the festival promises a new vibe, as well as the addition of masterclasses.

On the international front, artists including Matt Bianco (UK), Kokoroko (UK), The Yussef Dayes Experience (UK), Tunde Baiyewu of Lighthouse Family (UK), Moonchild (USA), MonoNeon (USA) and Francesca Biancoli’s (Italy/SA) are set to grace the stage. Darshan Doshi is also on hand to present his trio featuring saxophonist Mark Hartsuch and bassist Tony Grey (India/USA).

On the local front, attendees can expect unforgettable performances from Judith Sephuma, Ami Faku, the Hilton Schilder Quintet, Kujenga, Thandi Ntuli, Mervyn Africa, Mi Casa, Daliwonga, Mörda, and many more. The festival also welcomes the all-new Flavour Junction where food trucks are stationed with a selection of bars and tantalising treats, ensuring that festival goers stay fuelled as they enjoy the music.

Cost: From R950, book via Ticketmaster

When: Friday, 3 May, 6pm till late | Saturday, 4 May, 5pm till late (plus free concert in Greenmarket Square on 2 May)
Where: Cape Town International Convention Centre, Convention Square, 1 Lower Long Street, Cape Town

Prime Circle pictured with their new frontman

Prime Circle: The World We Know

Join legendary South African rock band, Prime Circle, for an epic evening of musical fun as they embark on their ‘The World We Know’ tour. This is the first tour since the departure of their lead singer, Ross Learmonth, at the end of 2023 and serves as a build up to the release of their upcoming EP, ‘A World We Know.’

Despite the major lineup change, the band eagerly welcomes fans, both old and new, to enjoy their classic hits and newer material with new lead singer Gavin Edwards, who came runner-up in the very first season of South Africa’s ‘The Voice,’ at the helm.

Supporting the band as they embark on this new musical chapter is seasoned South African artist, Jack Stone, who is also set to perform some old hits along with unveiling some of his latest material.

Cost: R250pp, book via Quicket

When: 10 May, 8pm to midnight
Where: Woodstock Brewery, 252 Albert Rd, Woodstock, Cape Town

Matthew Mole seated at a table full of treats

Matthew Mole’s ‘Okay Let’s Tour’

Popular South African artist, Matthew Mole, embarks on a national tour in celebration of his latest album ‘Wake Up, It’s Morning’ featuring hits such as ‘Okay,’ ‘Always by my Side,’ ‘See Me Again’ and ‘Wake Up.’ Fans can expect a high energy performance by the platinum-selling singer/songwriter, brewing a concoction that’s part folk, part electronic, and all shades eccentric.

Matthew’s latest musical odyssey stirred up 5 million Spotify streams in record time and continues to gain in popularity. His career has led to massive opportunities, such as sharing the limelight with international act Bastille, or gallivanting across the globe, from the USA to the far reaches of Thailand and Russia. Now, he brings his music back to where it all began for his adoring fans in South Africa.

Cost: R195 – R295pp, book via Webtickets

When: 18 May, From 6pm
Where: Alley Cape Town, 85 Auckland St, Paarden Eiland, Cape Town

Runners of the Slave Route Challenge running past the castle of Good Hope - May events

Slave Route Challenge: A unique running race with historic significance

The Slave Route Challenge brings people together from all walks of life. The avid runner can enjoy a Half Marathon or a 10km Run and novices can enjoy the 10km Big Walk or the 5km Fun Run / Walk. Powered by Brimstone, the challenge has the purpose of raising awareness about the history and heritage of Cape Town, truly encapsulating the spirit of Ubuntu.

The route was selected because it passes heritage sites including the Whipping Post where slaves were punished, the Hurling Swing Pump where slaves had to pump water for their masters, the Company Bell that rang to call slaves, Gallows Hill where slaves were executed, the Castle where slaves were imprisoned and tortured and the Slave Tree Plaque where slaves were sold, offering a comprehensive overview of this side of the city’s history.

Medals are awarded to all finishers, and water and snacks are available along the route. Temporary licenses must be purchased by unregistered runners looking to participate in the half-marathon and 10km runs.

Cost: R190 – R265pp (half marathon) | R80 – R180pp (10km run) | R90pp (10km big walk) | R50pp (5km fun run), enter via Webtickets

When: 26 May, Starts 7am (half marathon) | 7.30am (10km walk and run) | 7.40am (5km fun run)
Where: Route begins at Cape Town City Hall, Darling Street, CBD, Cape Town

And just in case… here’s our round up of top events in Joburg this month!

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