IEE Newsletter No. 20

SA-GER CDR: Iliso Youth Choir in Bochum

Moving voices and a momentous experience

ilisocaresociety logoDuring the last week of September, several musical performances of the Iliso Youth Choir from Khayelitsha in Cape Town electrified the audiences in Bochum. For most of the young singers it was the first time that they had been able to go abroad. Vivian Zilo, the founder of the Iliso Care Society, accompanied the group. Besides their highly moving performances, the choir members gave an insight into the life in a township and an introduction to the activities of the Iliso Care Society.

Iliso Choir at Day of SongEach day was packed with a variety of activities, among them intercultural workshops, visits to schools and attendance of classes, visits of radio shows and many interviews. There was not one day without singing and dancing. On the Day of Song around 3.000 people listened to the choir (see a picture of the choir's performance at the Day of Song above). Another highlight during their free time was the soccer match of the local team VfL Bochum which hosted Fortuna Düsseldorf in the Bochum football stadium.

Asanele KetiIn the following 20-year-old youth choir member, Asanale Keti (see picture on the left), will be giving her views on the choir's trip:

How was Germany?

I meticulously, enjoyed my trip to Germany for it was a momentous experience to be a part of. The Iliso Youth Choir members and I took pleasure in performing in places such as the Nelson Mandela school, Kulturcafé, Bochum radio station, the Mensa at Ruhr-University Bochum and at the University Radio Station. We also had fun during our excursion to the Museum. I personally loved the sufficiency and accessibility of transportation there. The environment of this amazing country, Germany, is outstanding beautiful. The people on the other hand are very engaging judging from those I've met and spoken to during my stay.

What was the best moment and what was the hardest part of your trip?

The best moment of my trip was the live interview at the Bochum Radio Station, it was phenomenal. Secondly it has to be the performance at the Nelson Mandela school, it was majestic. However, the hardest part of my trip was the language barrier. I found it too difficult to communicate in English with the people in my Hostel, where I lived. When I had any queries, the receptionist and I had to use Google translation as a facilitator to get our messages across.

What did you learn from these experiences?

I acknowledge that not just in South Africa there are public schools like Nelson Mandela that depend on a government support system because of parents not having the means to afford school fees for their children's education. In terms of the language barrier I took an initiative to learn simple German phrases such as: How are you?, I'm fine, Thank you, Good morning and Good night etc.

What are the current and future plans of the choir?

Currently: The choir will perform on 10th of December at Club Travel.
Upcoming plans: The choir is planning to release a second album.
Iliso Choir at Kulturcafe
Performance of the Iliso Youth Choir at the KulturCafé (photo: private).

On behalf of the IEE, the Deutsch Afrika Ruhr Forum (DARF e.V.) and the choir we would like to say thank you to everyone who supported the project, and those who made donations for the ongoing projects of the Iliso Care Society in Cape Town. The project would not have been possible without the generous funding of Goethe Institut e.V. (Federal Foreign Office), Stiftung für Umwelt und Entwicklung NRW and at the RUB the International Office, the AStA and the AKAFÖ.
We also would like to thank those who invited the choir for performances, intercultural exchanges and free time activities: Kinder- und Jugendzentrum Falkenheim, Radio Bochum, KulturCafé, Graf-Engelbert-Schule, Nelson-Mandela-Schule, Bahnhof Langendreer, Verein für interkulturelle Kinder- und Jugendhilfe – Migrationsarbeit (IFAK e.V.), Festival n.a.t.u.r., Day of Song and Musikschule Bochum. And very special thanks go to Hildegard Niklas, who made a noteworthy donation for the soccer tickets of the VfL Bochum match.

SiebertAnne Siebert
Research Fellow and PhD IDS student
E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: +49 (0)234 / 32-22292

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