A note from our Artistic Team, Bernard Kruger & Tobias Stückelberger:
In 2019, we are celebrating 25 Years of Freedom in South Africa. Our country has come a long way in terms of building bridges between different races and cultures. We are nowhere close to living in complete harmony as a nation, and so we felt that it is important for us, a leading exponent in the performing arts, to do our part in highlighting injustices of the past and mending the wounds that have clearly not yet healed amongst many people.
At the same time, we have the privilege of being the first choir ever to perform a little-known collection of African songs that depict impressions of Apartheid life in Johannesburg. Both the poet (Lewis Nkosi) and composer (Stanley Glasser) are South African exiles who carried on fighting and protesting the situation in our country from the UK, where they were commissioned by the world-renowned King’s Singers (an acapella ensemble) to create a collection of songs titled “LALELA ZULU” (colloquially translated as “Listen to things Zulu”). The composer passed away in August 2018 and it is only now that any group, other than the King’s Singers, were able to gain access to the score.
Our new Folklore programme is firmly centred around the six songs in this cycle, and we have added a number of other indigenous songs to build a narrative around the inequality of African citizens of our country under the oppression of the government at the time.
It is especially important for us to tell this story, since most of the boys in our school are blissfully unaware of many aspects of our country’s history, so this programme is a wonderful teaching moment.
At the same time, it becomes a wonderful juxtaposition on stage, since our boys, who range across cultures and language groups, can perform on stage as a united force, without any cultural or racial barriers between them.
The programme is by no means “finished” or “ready” at the moment, and we are still in the process of adding new songs and narratives to create the final Folklore Set. We invite all members of the audience to send their feedback after seeing the performance, so that we can gain an understanding of how people experience the show. After the first concert, we have already implemented a few changes and we will keep doing so until we are happy with it.