Sunday 19th November 2017,
Soweto Gospel Fans

Raising voices and spirits The Soweto Gospel Choir aims to do more than just entertain audiences, it wants to take them on a journey to a better place

Olivia Katter
29 July 2005
Townsville Bulletin

For those in desperate situations there is a one-off remedy in town tonight.

Thembisa Khuzwayo will be part of a group offering to help others by taking them to a better place for the duration of their show.

Khuzwayo is a member of the Soweto Gospel Choir from South Africa who will perform at the Townsville Civic Theatre tonight.

Khuzwayo said there would be plenty of singing, dancing and music making but their presentation would go further than that.

“If you need hope, we are here to help,” she said.

“If you are in a desperate situation we are here to say there’s hope, there’s a better place.

“I should think that the whole choir feels that way.”

Khuzwayo said the music also worked a treat to brighten the day of choir members who were missing family members back home during their international tour.

Khuzwayo said their current show Blessed was also dedicated to the singers’ native South Africa.

“It’s all about celebrating South African freedom and how we are growing as a nation,” she said.

While this makes up a major part of their show The Soweto Gospel Choir is generally known for its awe-inspiring vocal ensemble who perform an uplifting repertoire of tribal, traditional and popular songs which are predominantly of an African gospel origin.

Although Khuzwayo has a background in professional singing, she pointed out that she was one of the exceptions.

She said she was doing backing vocals and dancing when she decided to audition for the choir, even though she had heard very little about it.

It was the first casting call for the choir which was established in Johannesburg in 2002. There are 32 people in the choir, however, only 26 are taking part in the Blessed tour.

“I didn’t know what to expect, honestly,” Khuzwayo said.

“I started with this choir and since then everything has been falling into place.

“It has become something to celebrate and I’m really grateful for it.”

Khuzwayo said the majority of the singers hailed from churches with the rich culture of gospel music being responsible for developing and unearthing many talented vocalists.

“These were the raw talents taken straight from the community,” she said.

“You grow up as babies with your grandmother telling stories and mother singing all the time and there are always musical celebrations at home.

“South Africa is very musical.”

On top of their love for their homeland, there is a special respect for Australia and New Zealand.

“Australia and New Zealand were the first audiences to receive us,” Khuzwayo said.

“So we are very happy to be back again, especially this time as our show is more energetic.”

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About The Author

From the Great White North of Canada, Elaine is the owner and maintainer of SGF. Besides being a big-time Soweto Gospel Choir fan, she is passionate about world travel, technology, all sports and above all the great mangosteen fruit. Oh, and she can’t sing to save her life…one love! :)

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