By: Cheryl Wills
March 4, 2012
They hail from South Africa and they are known for their electrifying performances. The Soweto Gospel Choir, which was formed 10 years ago, has been on a steady global tour.
The 52-member choir recently made a stop in Brooklyn to get some down home food at Madiba, a South African inspired restaurant on Dekalb Avenue. Shimmy Jiyane is one of the original members of the group and a choir leader.
“The food is nice. It’s reminding us of back home and we’ve been longing for this since we’ve been here for five weeks so this is the best day of the choir tour,” said choir leader Shimmy Jiyane.
The chefs at Madiba – a nickname for Nelson Mandela – served up authentic South African cuisine like beef sausage with tomato onion and gravy with a side of wild greens.
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz even popped in to sing the choir’s praises and roll out the welcome mat.
“So many of their countrymen live here and have chosen to live here and in New York City and also visit here regularly and they’re well known to say the least. And so they do us the honor by spending the next few days in Brooklyn,” said Markowitz.
“The fact that this choir, gospel choir can create within freedom and be ambassadors to their country speaks volumes about the change that this country has gone through,” said Dr. Muhmmad Nurhussein of the United African Congress.
“We are trying to present to everyone in the world that we are a rainbow nation and we are striving to become one,” said choir member Bongani Ncube.
The choir’s songs of unity and hope are set to reverberate throughout Brooklyn and the entire city this weekend.