Meet the four young soloists who will star in the yearly Transnet Foundation, SABC and Sowetan Massed Choir festival in Johannesburg in November.
They are mezzo-soprano Nonhlanhla Yende, bass Timothy Matlala, soprano Pretty Yende and tenor Monwabisi Lindi, and will lead the 20 choirs that form a 1000-voice chorus. They will be backed by the Nation Building Orchestra.
Nonhlanhla Yende was born in Johannesburg in 1983. She started singing in a church choir and later featured in various community choirs, including Katlehong Choristers, Kopano Chorus and Gauteng Choristers.
She is the national champion in the South African Choral Music Eisteddfod. She is currently taking singing lessons from choral music maestro Lionel Mkhwanazi.
Since winning the solo voice category in the 2002 Tirisano School Choral Eisteddfod, Pretty Yende, who comes from Piet Retief in Mpumulanga, enrolled at the University of Cape Town for the performer's diploma in opera. She qualified with distinction.
She is completing her post graduate opera studies with Virginia Davids.
Timothy Matlala started choral singing at the early age of 11 in schools, church and community choirs in Limpopo. In 2001, he moved to Pretoria to study music at Technikon Northern Gauteng. In 2004, Matlala took part in the Unisa Music Foundation and won a gold certificate. In 2005, he joined the Black Ties Ensemble Chorus.
Monwabisi Lindi hails from Motherwell in Port Elizabeth. He is studying operatic voice singing under the expert tutelage of choral music guru Pierre du Toit at the Tshwane University of Technology's vocal arts department.
Arguably a deserving home for budding composers, arrangers, conductors and choristers, the festival emerged as a catalyst at a time of heightened political intolerance, racial division and economic instability in South Africa more than 18 years ago.
Today the festival, which is part of the youth and community development projects of the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation, continues to unite South Africans of all races and is a symbol of brotherhood and goodwill.
Over the years, guest artists have included brothers Loyiso and Zwai Bala, Tsepo "The Village Pope" Tshola, Vicky Sampson, the Sibonile School for Visually Impaired Pupils and the St Vincent School for Speech and Hearing Impaired Pupils, hip-hop star Tumelo Kepadisa, affectionately known as Tuks Senganga, and the Botswana Choral Society.
Pioneering festival leaders Richard Cock and Mzilikazi Khumalo have been replaced by young, versatile choral musicians Ludumo Magangane, Thabiso Mosabala, Mokale Koapeng, Danny Pooe and Thulasizwe Nkabinde.