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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The song of freedom comes to Aggieland

Soweto+Gospel+Choir
Photo by Provided
Soweto Gospel Choir

The Emmy and Grammy Award-winning Soweto Gospel Choir has traveled the globe to share their message of hope, love and forgiveness.
The group will perform “Songs of the Free,” a show honoring the legacy of Nelson Mandela, at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 30 at Rudder Auditorium. The choir, formed in 2002 in Soweto, South Africa, is now made up of 43 singers and dancers.
Leading the group, Milton Ndlakuse has been the director of the Soweto choir since 2007.
“I got interested in [the choir] mainly because I wanted just to reach out to people and share our tradition and culture and our faith,” Ndlakuse said.
The choir is a celebration of the liberation of South Africa from oppressive segregation. According to Ndlakuse, many of the songs in the show are traditional melodies of the South African people.
“We actually went through the apartheid regime and there are certain songs that actually kept us positive and kept us motivated,” Ndlakuse said.
While the choir performs in locations around the world, the group is currently in the middle of its North American tour. According to the show’s producer, Andrew Kay, the choir is thrilled to return to the U.S.
“We hope that our uplifting message of hope, faith and joy reaches audiences new and old on this special return visit as we celebrate the legacy of the great Nelson Mandela,” Kay said in a statement.
Mulalo Mulovhedzi has been a singer and dancer for the choir since he auditioned for the group in 2006. Mulovhedzi said he hopes audiences learn more about South Africa’s history when they watch the performance.
“[Nelson Mandela] was our freedom fighter,” Mulovhedzi said. “He went to prison because, during apartheid we were not even allowed to travel the world and to go out of the country. … After he was released from prison, he came back with a message of peace. [Now] we [are] allowed to start traveling through the peace, not war.”
The choir sang at the Memorial service for Nelson Mandela’s wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela on April 11. Since their foundation, the choir has been one of the Mandela family’s chosen musical groups, according to their website.
“We finish our song with ‘Hallelujah,’ which is which is a hymn, a version that we have made it our own to say thank you to Mandela, thank you for South Africa and thank you for everyone who has [worked] for South Africa to be what it is today,” Mulovhedzi said. “Haleluya is the most powerful song that ends the show, so people can take away at home the message of faith and forgiveness.”
In May, the choir recorded their fifth album, “Freedom.” According to Mulovhedzi, the album features songs of struggle and motivation that were sung in South Africa during apartheid.
“Through forgiveness and peace, everything changed for the country,” Mulovhedzi said. “We’re still using the songs that our mothers and our forefathers were singing. [We] try to tell the story that this is how everything started and this is where we are now and we didn’t use guns …We just prayed to God. We like to forgive as well.”

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