South African Theatre Journal

Articles, Articles, Essays, Interviews & Memoir

Volume 27/#2 (July 2014) Co-author with Dr. Alta Van As

“Viral Collaboration: Harmonizing to defeat AIDS in southern Africa.”
SouthAfricanTheatreJournalChoralising the WSI process

Choral singing was originally incorporated into The Winter/Summer Institute’s work to involve all participants in a way of communicating, of doing and of being that was connected to Lesotho. Dating back thousands of years, music tradition in Southern Africa has existed as an integral component of rituals such as birth, weddings, ancestral worship, initiation ceremonies and death. People of the region ‘do not do anything without the accompaniment of song’ (Ntaka 2003:2).

African music involves ‘the complete human being interacting with others of his group’ (Sadie 2001:76). This immersive interaction within the diverse group of WSI student actors served as a necessary catalyst, impelling the disparate parts toward a solid and functioning multicultural team. In societies where a group dynamic permeates the culture, choral singing is a characterising element of the music (Levine 2005:21). Ubuntu, an underpinning philosophy of African identity, expresses significance of group solidarity and team spirit.  It is thus understandable that choral singing is ‘the most important musical feature of the black [southern] African way of life’ (Smith 1996).  More