Soweto Melodic Voices
African youth choir, Soweto Melodic Voices stayed in the capital for three weeks in August, during which time they performed as part of Just Festival and participated in numerous University-led workshops.
Members of the choir and Reverend Dr Harriet Harris from the University Chaplaincy speak about their experiences.
Reverend Dr Harriet Harris from the University Chaplaincy spent three years liaising with the choir, fund-raising and working with other universities to bring it to Edinburgh for the first time this year.
She says the aim of the visit was to strengthen the University and the city’s links with South Africa, whilst also raising awareness of the choir’s community work at home - supporting HIV/AIDS orphans and improving the educational opportunities of young people from Soweto.
During its time in Edinburgh the choir was involved in a number of community-building activities with local schools, University students and public workshops, with a focus on cultural exchange.
Dr Harris says the visit was a great success and hopes the choir can return next year.
They consider themselves to be one big family and love to express their message of hope and peace through song and dance.
The group performed in St John’s Church, Princes Street, as part of Just Festival every day from 4th-23rd August.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu - a South African social rights activist and former Anglican bishop - also supported their visit to Edinburgh this year.
Neria Madikane, Director of Soweto Melodic Voices, says that they are so happy to be able to preach peace and hope through their music to the people of Edinburgh.
She says she cannot describe how happy they are to visit the capital, and that they have gained so much from a number of cultural exchanges - sharing ideas, hopes and music.
Another choir singer says he that he is very grateful to be in Edinburgh and comments how welcoming everyone has been.