July 13, 2011
AFRICAN rhythms resounded from an unexpected corner of Hobart yesterday.
South Africa’s Grammy Award-winning Soweto Gospel Choir treated minimum security inmates at Risdon Prison to a taste of their high-energy multilingual show.
In Hobart for last night’s show at Wrest Point, the choir stopped off for the free visit after a request from a member of the Prison Fellowship several months ago.
Choir member of six years Bongani Ncube said the group tried to do as many performances of this kind as possible.
“It’s to try and inspire people and bring happiness,” he said.
He said visiting prisons had been daunting at first but he found the response from inmates overwhelmingly positive.
“The first time it was strange, especially being in a maximum security place. The main thing is to inspire people and lift their spirits,” he said.
The 52-member choir tours internationally for about nine months of the year with trips home between countries.
The choir sings in six of South Africa’s 11 official languages and simply lets the music break down the barriers.
“It’s a wonderful break from the routine we normally have – a breath of fresh air,” an inmate said.