JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday lauded the multi award-winning Soweto Gospel Choir for being South African heroes as they have showcased to the world what the country has to offer.
The choir recently won its third Grammy Award for their album “Freedom” which was crowned Best World Music.
"We thought it was important that we hold this event today to see you, to honour you, to celebrate your win, and to remind you of just how immensely proud we are of you," said Ramaphosa at the event held at the Market Theatre Square in Johannesburg.
Accompanied by Minister of Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, President Ramaphosa said: "I'd like to apologise for being delayed. I called ahead to find out what everyone was wearing and when I was told everyone is so colourful I decided to change out of my suit! I want to tell you about this shirt I'm wearing..I actually designed it myself!"
He described the choir as being dynamic and outstanding as their music inspires people and cuts across the boundaries of race, class and faith.
The president said he had the "extraordinary pleasure" of listening to the choir perform in Cape Town last week at the global conference of the Young Presidents’ Organisation. "Wow, what a moment, and what an impression you made on the people representing more than 33 countries.
"You should always remember you are also a tourist attraction and in the process help to grow our economy. I am certain that it was an unforgettable experience for the 2,000 CEOs from across the world that were in attendance," said Ramaphosa.
He thanked the choir for entertaining them and for making such a lasting impression on international guests. "We have a strong tradition of gospel music in this country."
"What you are called upon to do is to be voice of a new generation of young South Africans. Tell the story of our people and of their liberation but also their stories into the future.
"Speak to their hopes and fears and aspirations, give comfort and hope where there may be hardship and provide inspiration where there may be doubt."
Ramaphosa asked the choir to continue do the nation proud.
"May you bring home more Grammys," added Ramaphosa.
African News Agency (ANA)