We were recently delighted to welcome an all-singing, all-dancing choir of children from the Madadeni Township in South Africa to The Podium in Broadmead where they sang for shoppers.
The Project Zulu choir busked in Broadmead at lunchtime on Tuesday 15th September, the first full day of their three-week UK tour.
Performances in Bristol included concerts at St George’s Bristol on 24th September and at Almondsbury Church on 1st October. The tour’s finale will be a Gala Concert at the Colston Hall on Tuesday 6th October when the choir will be joined by the UWE Big Band, Gurt Lush Choir and Mankala. They have also be recorded an album, taken part in workshops at several schools, and participated in another afternoon of busking.
Project Zulu is a Bristol based charity started by Ben Knight, senior lecturer in education at the University of the West of England, with the aim of supporting the educational development and community opportunities within the Madadeni Township, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa which increase lifelong learning prospects for young people.
They arrange for choirs from the township schools to tour the UK and share their incredible Zulu musical talents. While in the UK the choir children develop their social skills, practice their English, interact with UK students and form new relationships with friends and host families. Every penny the choir raise whilst on tour goes back to their township school to further its development through sustainable projects.
All funds raised from their 2015 tour will go towards the building of new classrooms at Sithobelumthetho Primary School to help reduce overcrowding in their classes. The children are currently taught with over 50 pupils per class and three children squashed into a desk design for two. The choir use their skills to raise funds for what they need; learning first hand that they have the power to change their own future.
As well as choir tours Project Zulu also arrange for university students to visit the Madadeni Township schools during their summer holidays to offer their skills. So far Madadeni has benefited from University Student Teachers working in the schools bringing fresh ideas and giving the Madadeni teachers the opportunity to learn new techniques and approaches in the classroom. Madadeni has also benefitted from university rugby players coaching tag rugby in the township schools and encouraging the development of the game within the community.