Top choirs honour Madiba

A COMPOSER conducted a mass choir in Johannesburg at the weekend in unveiling his latest creation during a concert marking a month of honouring iconic statesman Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

This was a major first because composers rarely conduct their own creations. Most of them shun the limelight.

Composer and consummate conductor Simon Bhekathini Phelelani Mnomiya steered the massed choir brilliantly.

The choir featured the Gauteng Choristers, Kopano Chorus, Voices of the Nation and Mzansi Choir and the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra in thesinging of his new composition, Ziyeza Izingqulungqulu.

This was the fitting highlight of the Sing Africa Sing: A Concert Tribute To Nelson Mandela, which is organised by Ukhamba, which is best known for the production of the popular SABC1 shows Imizwilili and Rootz.

It is supported by Sowetan, for the Aggrey Klaaste nation Building Foundation; Mageu Number 1 and Black Motion Production.

The SABC has made this project part of its corporate social investment and responsibility programmes portfolio .

The other composers whose creations were immortalised include John Knox Bokwe, John Mohapeloa and Todd Matshikiza.

Composers who attended the concert included Themba Madlopha, Qinisela Sibisi and Mzilikazi Khumalo, whose career highlights include having led the Sowetan -conceived Massed Choir Festivals together with Richard Cock.

Khumalo was also on the panel that helped give South Africa a new, all-embracing national anthem.

Young conductors and leaders of the participating choirs led their choirs on high-calibre performances are Ralf Schmitt for the Mzansi Youth Choir, Monty Manamela for Kopano Chorus, Sidwell Mhlongo for the Gauteng Choristers and Xolani Frazer Gqasana for Voices of the Nation.

Soloists were also in fine fettle.

Poet Zolani Mkiva, a revered authority on indigenous oral traditions, reprised his fine narration with which he helped inaugurate this show in Cape Town in June.

He helped the audience to understand and appreciate South Africa's first black democratically elected president as an ordinary man who achieved extraordinary things while he sought ordinary things for himself and his fellow human beings; including freedom, dignity, unity, peace, love, brotherhood and goodwill.

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