The Choir Project SHOSHOLZA
Since 1989

SHOSHOLOZA is isiXHOSA and it means "Forward! Go Ahead!"

The choir project Shosholoza consists of about 45 women and men from the area Oldenburg-Bremen in Lower Saxony. Formerly deeply rooted in the anti-apartheid-movement and with a program of the South African resistance and freedom-songs in the languages of the black people of South Africa, Shosholoza nowadays tries to inform about the traditions and historical and current developments in South Africa, using songs from the daily life and about current social problems of the post-apartheid-era, such as HIV/AIDS. The history of the repression of the non-white population of South Africa during the apartheid era is featured in concerts by songs and story-telling.  

Concerning history:
Founded in March 1989, Shosholoza (at that time still „Tshotsholoza“) could actively be involved in the anti-apartheid-movement by singing freedom-songs and the songs of resistance against the apartheid-system, in the languages of the black people of South Africa. Before the choir project could be founded, inspiration and guidance was needed from encounters with James Madhlope Philipps (1987), an ANC-member who at that time lived in  European exile, and from the cooperation with the Amsterdam CASA-Koor (CASA = Culture for Another South Africa) that served as an example for a project that exclusively pertained to the subject „Apartheid in South Africa “.

Since the foundation of the choir project, numerous contacts and workshops with artists and groups from South Africa and Namibia contributed to the musical development of the choir as well as to the constant analysis of the historical and current social themes of the region. Especially there should be mentioned the meetings and workshops of Shosholoza with the SWAPO-choirs from Namibia (1989) and with the South African artists Sophie Mgcina(1994), Hlekelo L. Mphalele (Ndonda Khuze) (1995), Busi Mhlongo,(1997), Sipho Nkosiyane (2000), Raymond Vuyo Mantinyana (1997-2001), and Monde Wani (since 2002).

A very special highlight for Shosholoza was the encounter with Nelson Mandela in May 1996 when he as the President of the Republic of South Africa paid a state visit to the Republic of Germany. The little concert for „Madiba“, the short time of singing together with him, and his speech to Shosholoza quite definitely will not be forgotten by all those participating in the event.

Further absolute highlights in the history of Shosholoza were the three visits to the Republic of South Africa in 1997, 2002, and 2008. Here Shosholoza could experience the land and the people directly and closely study the situation, as well as the fears and hopes of the developing „rainbow-nation“. Beyond the usual routes of tourists, The Shosholoza people met numerous choirs, politicians and idols from the freedom movement (Walter Sisulu for example), visited townships, villages and cities, exchanged thoughts and concepts with institutions, projects and initiatives.  

Projects
From the earnings of concerts, by selling their CDs and collecting donations, Shosholoza supports several socio-cultural projects in South Africa that mainly concentrate on the prevention and education against youth criminology, violence and HIV/AIDS :

-   Bayede Music Group from Bekhuzulu /Vryheid in KwaZulaNatal (since 2002)

-   Victory Sonqoba Theatre Company in Soweto
    (with branches in Newcastle and Umlazi near Durban)

-   Siyakhula Community Music Centre in Umlazi near Durban

    (more detailed descriptions: see Projekte).

Shosholoza keeps the contact with these projects going, continuously and directly, and tries to arrange regular mutual visits. This guarantees that sponsored money and donations in kind reach the projects directly without going the long way over other organisations, and that the intended purposes remain traceable.  

Aims
The choir project Shosholoza will deal with the historical and current political and social circumstances of South Africa and their neighbors in the future as well. The aim will be reflected by the musical program of the choir. The contents will inform and sensitize the listeners for the concerns of South Africa.

At the same time the choir strives for continual growth in the manners of performance, such as choreography, inclusion of elements of story-telling etc. The constant exchange with the supported projects and with choirs and artists from South Africa results in a continuing process of musical education in both content and form.

Publications
The following CDs of the choir project Shosholoza are available:

- „Amandla“ (1993) ,
  a concert done together with the CASA-Koor from Amsterdam, live recording

- „Hambani“ (2000),
  a concert done together with the choir from Aurich „Neue Töne“, live-recording  

- „Sesifikile? – Sind wir schon angekommen?“ (2002),
   Shosholoza sings songs from South Africa.

- „Shosholoza Benefiz-Konzert“ (Nov. 2002), live recording; limited edition  

- "Silalela - Listen to us" - Songs from South Africa (March 2010)

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Conductors: Ulrike Gläser, Jupp Hemmers, Werner Ufferhardt

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Since 2006 SHOSHOLOZA is a member of SAGE Net, the South African German Network: http://www.sage-net.org

 

Contacts:

Werner Ufferhardt
w.ufferhardt@t-online.de
Ulrike Gläser
uli.glaeser@gmx.net

 

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