Durban panel beaters Clark and Kent will be pushing the vehicles to one side and stowing their panel beating paraphernalia to host an ‘Industrial Strength Blues Concert’ in their Sydney Road shop on May 30.

The event will be a fund raiser for conservation with all monies going towards an on-going environmental global lobbying project that will continue the work of world renowned conservationist Dr Ian Player and his mentor and close friend, Magqubu Ntombela.

Joint initiators of this project are Ian Campbell-Gillies, director of Clark and Kent, and Durban artist Andries Botha. 

“Here, in South Africa, the need is for social cohesion through caring. It is a case of people not complaining but taking action. It’s about dispelling the anxiety people have about one person not being able to do anything – so here you have a panel beater giving it a go!” explains Campbell-Gillies.

To continue the Player legacy, Botha intends creating a symbolic memorial to the two great conservationists. This will take the form of a stone rhino emerging from an enclosure of natural rock that will be placed in an appropriate setting.

Botha was a close confidant and supporter of the 87 year old Dr Ian Player who died last November after a short illness. He is credited with saving the white rhino from extinction in KwaZulu-Natal in the 1950s through the effective Operation Rhino campaign. He founded the Wilderness Leadership School (WLS) which, for 55 years, has been living its mission of “reconnecting people with nature and self”.

Botha shares the late environmentalist’s philosophy that conservation highlights the importance of the spiritual as well as the scientific side of environmental impact and is committed to adding his weight to ensure that Player’s legacy continues. Botha, like Player, maintains that people and culture are a vital element in the environmental conversation.

Two years ago Botha completed a 50cm x 60cm print pastel drawing of Dr Ian Player. He is printing a limited-edition print-run of this sketch on archival paper. These prints will be sold at the concert and all funds will go towards the project.

“We are looking for people to recognise the importance of this concept. We need to find meaningful ways of building capacity, especially among younger people, to enhance a consciousness of nature,” he adds.

The concert will feature blues by the Tim Wells Blues Band and some great swing and jazz from the Theo Bophela’s Nqwelo Afrika band.

Included in the Tim Wells Blues Band will be Great Heart, a song written especially for the occasion honouring Player and Ntombela. Wells, who now lives in the UK, will be coming out especially for the event. The Tim Wells Blues Band comprises Wells (vocals), Nux Schwartz (guitar), Jason Andrew (bass), Peter Enslin (keys) and Steve du Plessis (drums).

Nqwelo Afrika is a township jazz / marabi group that plays original compositions influenced by the swing era. The band is led by Theo Bophela (piano), who is joined by Moses Sefatsa  (jazz tenor sax), Jacob Filander  (lead guitar), K.B. Maphumulo (bass guitar), Barney Bophela (synthesizer) Atlas Duma (drums); Nonhlanhla Dlomo (vocals) and Bheki Ntuli (trumpet).

This is the second Industrial Strength Blues Concert to be hosted by Clark and Kent. The first, in June 2012, was a phenomenal success and captured the imagination of Durban’s music-loving public keen for a bespoke musical experience outside the conventional concert halls.

Tickets cost R250 per person or R2 500 per table of ten. A corporate package is offered for a table of ten which includes a limited-edition signed Player print by Andries Botha for R6000 (one signed print per table).

There will be a cash bar, and Mrs Pillay’s world famous curry will be on sale.

For more information, or to book, call 031 205 7251 or log on to www.clarkandkent.co.za