Mandela Day concert in New York

The Soweto Gospel Choir is jetting off to New York City on Sunday ahead of a host of South African artists who are going to be part of the inaugural Mandela Day concert in the United States.

Other South African artists taking part are: Sipho "Hotstix" Mabuse, Thandiswa Mazwai, Freshlyground, Vusi Mahlasela, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Loyiso, and Chris Chameleon.

The Grammy Award-winning group leaves on Sunday to have ample time to rehearse with several international artists with whom they will be collaborating during the show, said executive director Beverly Bryer.

The other local artists will jet off during the week.

"We will be on stage for almost four hours. We have been rehearing for two weeks and will rehearse for a week with the artists.

"It's a lot of hard work. All the stars we are singing with have sent their songs. It's a big thing for us because the guys will be singing in different languages - from rock to reggae," said Beverley.

She declined to name the international artists but the line-up includes Stevie Wonder, Wyclef Jean, Josh Groban, Aretha Franklin and Queen Latifah among others.

"We will be collaborating with 80percent of the artists. We are the official 46664 ambassadors and have performed with international artists in previous concerts."

The concert is to be held at Now York's Madison Square Garden on Saturday, July 18 - Mandela's birthday.