Tshepo Ncokoane, Danelle Cronje and Lelo Ramasing rehearsing ahead of the HOPEtober initiative. Picture: Supplied
Tshepo Ncokoane, Danelle Cronje and Lelo Ramasing rehearsing ahead of the HOPEtober initiative. Picture: Supplied

Local artists unite through songs of hope to honour health workers

By Kedibone Modise Time of article published Sep 22, 2020

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Nelson Mandela once said: "Music is a great blessing. It has the power to elevate and liberate us … It can unite us to sing with one voice.”

Singers, musical directors and actors including Leah van Niekerk, Mortimer Williams, Lynnelle Kenned, Craig Urbani and Tshepo Ncokoane are embarking on a national HOPEtober tour – an Adcock Ingram OTC sponsored show of hope through song. The tour aims to inspire and reignite the flame of the nation as South Africa makes its way over the hurdles created by the coronavirus pandemic.

The stars will travel in a double-decker open-top bus, stopping at hospitals in Joburg, Cape Town and Pretoria to sing for health professionals as their way of thanking them for all their hard work and sacrifices during the pandemic.

The aims is to uplift and show appreciation to health professionals while also extending the message of hope to patients, other staff and visitors to the respective hospitals.

Kicking things off in Johannesburg on Tuesday, September 22 the bus will stop at the Netcare Sunninghill Hospital, before heading to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital and Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital.

We caught up with some of the artists to chat about their involvement in the project.

Commenting on the tour, actor, singer and dancer Tshepo Ncokoane said he hopes the initiative will remind South Africans of the sense of ubuntu.

He said: “My greatest hope is that people who experience the reach of this initiative may be reminded of the immense good, light and love that exists in and around them from their fellow human folk, that we may all remember one another's humanity and relearn to celebrate and care for that in each other, thus truly manifesting ubuntu to one another.”

Echoing Ncokoane’s sentiments, Cape-Town based singer Leah van Niekerk said: “I am an incredibly positive person, but although this year has brought me many lows, I realised that there’s always hope and light and the end of the tunnel.

“This is the message the Bus of Hope wants to deliver and I am honoured to share in this initiative that is so incredibly aligned with my humanity.”

Vocalist and performer Lynelle Kenned of “West Side Story” said: “As a performing artist, the pandemic has been devastating to our industry.

“I see this project as a wonderful way to be using my voice again, this time to celebrate the often unsung heroes in our society.”

She added: “The purpose of the Songs of Hope initiative is to honour our front-line workers by performing iconic South African music to uplift, show appreciation and hopefully bring some comfort and joy.”

On Wednesday, September 23, the bus heads to Pretoria, taking hope through song to the Netcare Unitas Hospital, the Life Eugene Marais Hospital and Netcare Pretoria East Hospital.

The following Tuesday, the bus will make its final stop in Cape Town where health-care workers at the Netcare N1 City Hospital, Groote Schuur, Somerset Hospital and the Red Cross Children’s Hospital will be honoured.

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