Soweto singers strike chords in Edinburgh

The University has hosted Soweto Melodic Voices, a group of 30 young singers who appeared at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

The Chaplaincy supported the group’s visit to Edinburgh for the second year, having helped bring them to their first Festival in 2013.

During their visit, the South African choir also met with the Centre of African Studies and University staff involved in cross-discipline research in Africa.

The group gained a taste of the different types of study available in Edinburgh and learned about the wide variety of engagement that Edinburgh has with Africa.

Vice Principal International Elect, Professor James Smith, met the group and discussed with them the valuable role of social science research in Africa.

Soweto Melodic Voices have brought much joy and inspiration to the university community during their stay in Edinburgh. Furthering their education is a major concern for many of the choir members and we felt that giving them a taster of research and teaching from across the University might inspire them to think about what they want to study and give then an insight into university life.Vice Principal International Elect

Professor James SmithVice Principal International Elect

Centre of African Studies

Dr Francisca Mutapi from the Institute of Immunology and Infection Research discussed her work on infectious diseases in Zimbabwe, while Dr Kenneth Amaeshi from the Business School talked about issues of entrepreneurship in Africa. Professor Mark Blaxter of the School of Biological Sciences also took the group on a tour of the University’s Natural History Collections

The event concluded with a focus on African cinema from Dr Lizelle Bisschoff, founder of the Africa in Motion Film Festival and the screening of a documentary entitled Mama Gomea, focusing on contemporary music in Cape Town.

The group’s visit was organised by the Chaplaincy, the Centre of African Studies, the Global Development Academy and St John Church.

Interview with Soweto Melodic Voices

The University of Edinburgh's Rev Dr Harriet Harris and singers from Soweto Melodic Voices speak about the choir's visit to Edinburgh, and their message of hope and peace.

Edinburgh and Africa

The University of Edinburgh has a long historical connection with Africa. The Centre of African Studies was founded in 1962 and acts as a focal point for postgraduate teaching and supervision on Africa. It is a world-leading hub for research programmes that span all three of the University’s colleges.