BLOEMFONTEIN — IT was all glitz and glamour as 22 giants of the Southern Africa’s Choral music clashed at this year’s 38th edition of the two-day Old Mutual National Choir Festival at the weekend at the University of the Free State.
BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
Local award-winning choral group, Chitungwiza Harmony Singers, who were representing the Limpopo Province, proved their prowess in the genre emerging winners of the two categories, out of the three in which they participated. There was a total of seven categories.
Although the 60-member choir missed the overall win, they will be smiling all the way to the bank after pocketing a handsome cash prize of R54 000 for coming out third overall in the Standard Category.
They had come second in the Standard Category (African Section Prescription) and third in the Standard Category (Western Section Prescription).
The excited harmony singers took turns to pose for photos displaying their trophy before breaking into a popular Chimurenga song, Mbuya neHanda Kufa Vachitaura.
The choir secretary, Judith Gwande, told NewsDay that it was a dream come true for them after putting in lots of hard work ahead of the competitions.
“We are happy to have represented our Limpopo province well and at large our nation, Zimbabwe, at such a prestigious competition. We have worked hard since September and our hard work has paid off,” said Gwande.
“We did exceptionally well in the Standard Category, African Section as we scored high points.”
SA Singers of KwaZulu-Natal province are this year’s overall winners of the festival, pocketing R100 000 and a trophy, while Kopano Chorus and Gauteng Choristers, all from Gauteng province, walked away with trophies as well as R90 000 and R80 000 respectively.
Meanwhile, a Free State Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation executive committee official Mathabo Leeto urged choristers to use music to fight children and women’s abuse.
“A nation that abuses women and children has no future. You [Choristers] should be involved in the fight against child and women’s abuse,” Leeto said during the official opening of the festival.
“You should sing for them because music is a total package that goes straight to the heart. Choristers let’s use our melodious voices to comfort those who are abused.”
The Old Mutual National Choir Festival is the oldest national choral music competition in southern Africa.
Old Mutual emerging markets sponsorship manager, Bandile Mngoma said since inception, the festival’s essence has been to
enrich people’s lives through choral music as part of cultural heritage.