Mississippi College Singers 2011 Concert Tour of South Africa
by Sarah Pope, Tour Participant
When I signed up to travel to South Africa with my choir, the Mississippi College Singers, I had no idea that my life would be forever changed. Touring through Johannesburg, the Garden Route, Pilanesberg and Cape Town was like seeing four different worlds within one country. The views were breathtaking and the cultures were dramatically different.
We started our tour in Johannesburg. One of the most memorable events of the trip was our joint concert with Michael Dingaan’s choir, the Chamber Choir of South Africa, in the Kwa-Thema Methodist Church, located in one of Johannesburg’s most populous black townships. We learned many traditional African songs, some sacred and some secular, and performed them with the Chamber Choir. This concert was very emotional for our group, and the love shown to us by the community was overwhelming. They welcomed us into their homes, where we stayed overnight – a truly memorable experience. Despite how tired we were from such an eventful concert, we exchanged stories with our host families into the early morning. It was such a blessing to see how individuals half a world away live life every day.
Mississippi College Singers on top of Table Mountain overlooking Cape Town
When we left Kwa-Thema, we moved on to Pilanesberg National Park where we spent a whole day on safari. Despite being chased by an angry elephant, we had such a great time seeing animals that are uncommon to us in the States.
From Pilanesberg, we travelled to the Garden Route for more homestays in George. Just like in Kwa-Thema, we were graciously welcomed into the homes of the members of the Bergsig Dutch Reformed Church. The landscape in George was completely opposite from that of Johannesburg. I can still picture the wall of majestic mountains surrounding the area and setting a beautiful backdrop for our adventures to Knysna.
From George, we moved on to Cape Town where we spent the rest of our tour. We performed a joint concert with the Pro Cantu Youth Choir and the University of Cape Town Choir on the university’s campus. On our final night, we travelled to Table Mountain, overlooking the city lights of Cape Town. It was such a special night for our group as we reminisced about the truly life-changing trip we had.
With each passing day we said, ‘Tomorrow can’t possibly be better than today.‘ We were wrong. Each day surpassed the one before. I will never forget my adventures in South Africa and will forever be grateful to those who made it possible.
To learn more about South Africa as a possible concert tour destination for your ensemble, please visit our South Africa destination page, or contact us.