Published on 19th September 2018 by

Township Opera (1998): The heart of Zululand may seem an unlikely place to find the high art of opera. But here, another of apartheid’s cultural barricades is crumbling.

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Gathering on stage the Sikhawini Township Choir are about to do battle against white cultural elitism. For Griffiths Kanyile, the choir’s trainer, tonight’s performance is a dream come true. His own voice once brought him awards and acclaim as a great tenor but his career was stunted by the apartheid state. Simphiwe is a local teacher. For her the choir is all about saying “it’s not up to the government to say you can or can’t do this. It’s up to the person, if you’ve got the talent, then go for it.” Bongi is tonight’s soloist. Unlike Griffiths, in this post-apartheid land, he might just fulfil his ambition of a life in international music. On South Africa’s road to transformation, even the smallest victories are sweet ones.

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