Watch SA singer perform Qongqothwane for the Queen

By admin
18 March 2016

It's not every day you can add “singing for the queen” to your list of achievements. But Pretoria-born bass-baritone Simphiwe Simon Shibambu (28) can now do just that.

It's not every day you can add “singing for the queen” to your list of achievements. But Pretoria-born bass-baritone Simphiwe Simon Shibambu (28) can now do just that. The South African opera star was one of only a handful of artists selected to perform for Queen Elizabeth II at a Celebration of the Commonwealth service held in London’s Westminster Abbey earlier this week. The annual event is the UK’s largest multifaith celebration. Simphiwe was the only South African artist in attendance at this year’s function. The song Simphiwe performed at the event was Qongqothwane, a traditional Xhosa song customarily sung at weddings to bring about good fortune. His rendition proved moving for many in the audience, including the queen herself. Afterwards, she paused to chat with the young singer.

Simphiwe began singing at an early age, but it was only at high school that he was introduced to opera. He initially wanted to study jazz at university, but after failing an audition realised opera was his true calling. And it’s now earned him international acclaim.

According to the young maestro, “Singing opera is not only about your voice it's about many other things, like connecting with the music, understanding what the composer wants in the music, acting and putting a lot of effort into your work."

After completing his undergraduate degree in vocal arts at Tshwane University of Technology, Simphiwe moved to London to study for a master’s in vocal performance at the prestigious Royal College of Music, after being awarded a full scholarship to study opera.

He took first prize in the Amazwi Omzansi Africa national opera singing competition in Durban in 2103 and last year received an international opera award when he won both the audience and first prizes at the Clonter Opera singing competition in the UK.

He’s since starred in various operas at home and abroad, including Mozart’s Die Zauberfl?te, Gounod’s Faust, and in Mozart’s Don Giovanni.

It’s not the first time Simphiwe has serenaded high-ranked dignitaries; he recently performed for Madame Peng, the first lady of China, during a state visit to London.

Find Love!

Men
Women