'This is astounding': Mzansi Youth Choir director after international award win

Mzansi Youth Choir recently bagged an international award during the Interkultur video awards 2020.
Mzansi Youth Choir recently bagged an international award during the Interkultur video awards 2020.
Image: Supplied

Jannie Zaaiman, founder and director of the award winning Mzansi Youth Choir, says their recent win at the first ever Interkultur “Virtual Choir Games” gave the group a glimmer of hope, especially as the global community continues to live under the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The families and friends of the choristers in Soweto are super excited. You know we’re going through a very tough time, so this win is like a star that has come up for all of us. You can hear from their voices that this is absolutely astounding,”  Zaaiman told TshisaLIVE.

MYC won in the category “choirs with accompaniment”, with their video submission of “a million dreams” by Benj Pasek.

The event was set to have taken place in Belgium but was cancelled due to Covid-19. 

Videos from entrants were broadcast on the Interkultur TV platform from July 5- July 15. The organisation received 128 videos from 44 countries. There were two categories, namely “choirs A cappella” and “choirs with accompaniment”.

Musical director for the choir, Sidumo Nyamezele said video submissions were judged on creativity, choir quality and production.

Zaaiman admitted that doing virtual rehearsals had its own challenges, but emphasised that it was important for the choir to adapt as virtual performances will likely become the new normal.

“The world will be very different and Interkultur has already indicated that the virtual competition will not be the last. So, the virtual world is going to remain with us and it can take a long time for the arts in particular, to return to normality and get back to being in larger groups and do shows and concerts.”

The choir has a number of projects in the pipeline until the end of the year.

They include their performance with the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra, releasing three new videos in collaboration with some of SA’s biggest stars and the virtual conductor development programme, which is a compilation of the choir’s behind-the-scenes videos of the competition rehearsals.

Zaaiman says this helps the group stay focused. 

“We do not want to lose any momentum and also, for self-esteem, it’s super important for us to keep on working, engaging and asking for ideas.

"Our team is super innovative in a way they come up with suggestions, in what we can do. We speak basically every third day to decide what’s next. That’s how we keep each other motivated.”


Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.