Picture:Dumisani Dube
About 35 members of the Mzansi Many Roots, One Tree project led by renowned local music producer Gabi le Roux, will fly to China to participate in this year’s Shanghai Cultural Festival.

Le Roux, a composer and veteran musician of more than four decades, said they had been invited by China to attend the Shanghai Cultural Festival in September, an event that will be broadcast on TV to billions of viewers around the world.

“About 35 of our members, mainly from the youth and mainly dancers, will be going.

“We will probably take some of our other entertainers, and we will be doing a tour in that area and at other venues and events, and will incorporate more of the other music genres.”

Mzansi Many Roots, One Tree works with 56 young people who are dancers, singers and rappers from disadvantaged communities, said Le Roux.

The project was in its second year and they aimed to develop it into an academy by 2021, he said.

“We’ve had indications from our Minister of Arts and Culture that the state is very keen on supporting this initiative.

“It will be a proper academy, where we will find youngsters as young as 8 years old and they will spend about 10 years at the academy, doing their normal subjects, but with a very big focus on arts subjects.

“They will come in as someone with singing skills, but by the time they are 12, they will also be able to dance, and by the time they are 15 they will be able to act.

“By the time they are ready for us to put them into the entertainment industry when they reach 18, they will know how to deal with their finances, contracts and copyright law, and know why it’s a very bad idea to become a drug addict,” added Le Roux.