The oldest youth choir in SA, and hailed for its transformation, the award-winning group is looking for sponsors so it can compete in the World Choir Games in Tshwane next month.
The oldest youth choir in SA, and hailed for its transformation, the award-winning group is looking for sponsors so it can compete in the World Choir Games in Tshwane next month.
It’s been 51 years in the making. Today, the KZN Youth Choir stands proud as the oldest in South Africa - and hailed for its transformation through the years. And, as most of its young choristers ready themselves to compete in the World Choir Games in Tshwane next month, they are also anxious many may not make it if they fail to come up with the funding on time.

“These youngsters have excelled quietly and spectacularly. As a proud KZN initiative, they need all the support they can get, given how far they have come in achieving their dreams and in making the choir truly transformative. They have gone on to win international awards, including first prize in the youth choir category at the International Choral Music competition in Greece in 2011.

But, for many coming from rural backgrounds, funding for such competitions is a major issue and can become discouraging. They are already struggling to fund their next trip,” said Raymond Wesner, president of the choir’s board.

For the 200 members, the choir goes beyond music. It has brought together youth across the province, from diverse racial and financial backgrounds. And, with race a hotly contested debate in KZN, their common love of music has transcended all, uniting them into a powerful force locally and internationally.

The oldest youth choir in SA, and hailed for its transformation, the award-winning group is looking for sponsors so it can compete in the World Choir Games in Tshwane next month.

“Their talent is unbelievable, made more precious given the many obstacles to realising their potential. The annual fees of the KZN Youth Choir which runs as an NPO, is R6500

“We have worked against all odds to provide opportunities for these youngsters so they can dream big and know they can achieve their ambitions. We do this by allowing them to compete locally and internationally, every second year. Each time they have returned with resounding success, scooping first prize and gold awards in several categories.

“For rural members, it has been a dream come true. It provides hope that they can achieve their dreams and goals. But it all comes at a cost, and that’s where the challenge lies.

“We are having a golf day on Thursday and hope companies and individuals come forward to support this so that we can raise money for these talented youngsters who would otherwise never get the chance,” added Wesner.

For 16-year-old Sma Mkhwanazi from Empangeni, on the North Coast, the opportunity to prove his talents is something he has always dreamed of.

“I joined the KZN Youth Choir because I loved singing but I did not really think of taking it any further. But, when I started with the choir, it gave me hope. Travelling to other countries really opened my mind to possibilities out there.

“Young people in rural areas like me don’t dream big. We don’t have the money to have big dreams. My parents cannot afford to send me to these competitions, so I just have to trust people who can afford to sponsor us. It’s not always easy and we don’t always get our sponsors, but we have to have faith,” says Mkhwanazi.

To assist with their trip to the World Choir Games, please call Sandy Pillay on 0826013872 or e-mail sandy [email protected]

SUNDAY TRIBUNE