Don’t end our song

By admin
14 January 2011

The South African Youth Choir with its diverse mix of cultures and performances involving song, dance and colourful costumes brings together a blend of races.

Since it was formed five years ago its 88 members, many from disadvantaged communities, have proved to be an example of unity and empowerment, echoing its motto, ‘‘seek harmony in diversity’’.

Its members are great ambassadors who have shown the world how easily South Africans can find racial harmony, founder and choir leader André van der Merwe says.

Three years ago the choir was fighting for survival after its main corporate sponsor, the Fidentia group, collapsed amid a major financial scandal.

YOU reported on their plight (1 March 2007) and a businessman donated R2 million. Shortly afterwards PetroSA became the choir’s new sponsor – but late last year the company said worldwide financial woes were forcing it withdraw as sponsor.

The choir has often been invited to perform in front of VIPs worldwide, has won three international competitions and released three CDs. The latest, Birth of the Sun, was nominated for an SA Music Award.

‘‘I’ve been fighting with the authorities for years, trying to get more funding for the arts,’’ says Ronnie Samaai, the choir’s patron.

‘‘After all, they’re representative of South Africa – and the choir looks after all aspects of the members’ lives to ensure they’ll be prepared for life after school.’’

‘‘This choir is an investment that’s worth every cent,’’ André van der Merwe says. ‘‘It’s about much more than just singing: it’s first and foremost an investment in people.’’

* Contact Bart van Milligen at bart@iburst.co.za if you wish to assist.

Read more about the choir in YOU, 20 January 2011.

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