An African youth choir’s visit to Edinburgh is set to have a lasting effect.
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.
Reverend Dr Harriet Harris from the University Chaplaincy spent three years liaising with the choir, fundraising and working with other universities to bring it to Edinburgh for the first time this year.
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.
See the Soweto Melodic Voices perform with interviews from Rev Dr Harriet Harris and singers from the choir.
The choir consists of a group of 15-25 year-olds from Soweto in South Africa who are living through the aftermath of Apartheid and the on-going realities of HIV/AIDS.
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.
We are so happy to be able to preach peace and hope through our music to the people of Edinburgh. We have gained so much from our visit through a number of cultural exchanges – sharing ideas, hopes and music.
Soweto Melodic Voices represented South Africa at the 2009 Confederation Cup, and have toured Oxford in England and the French island of La Réunion, under sponsorship from the South African and French governments.