100 World Class South Africans: Sibongile Khumalo

2013-09-03 12:00

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Diva of diversity

She entranced global audiences as Princess Magogo in the first-ever African opera and has held her own with American jazz heavyweights like Jack de Johnette.

She’s equally at home with classical music, from Handel’s Messiah to opera arias, as she is with African – her most recent triumph was Songs of Migration, with Hugh Masekela, which toured abroad.

With her extraordinary voice, if it has a melody Khumalo can sing it.

Mzansi’s ‘first lady of song’ insists on a spread of local performances when she could easily accept a full roster of shows overseas – she has graced the stages of the Kennedy Center (Washington), Royal Albert Hall and Ronnie Scott’s (London) but frequently sings close to her birthplace of Orlando West, Soweto.

Earlier this year Khumalo was music producer for the Afcon 2013 opening and closing ceremonies.

She’s been called the epitome of a New South African, with a strong sense of tradition, place and culture but also open to influences from across the world.

Through her work with several organisations, including the Federated Union of Black Arts, Madimba Institute of African Music, Opera Africa and Performers Organisation of SA (which she founded), she is also mentoring and supporting our future singing stars.

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