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Saturday, August 3, 2013


(The KZN Philharmonic performing in Paris)

A balmy Thursday evening on Place de la Republique in Paris was the perfect setting for a magnificent International Nelson Mandela Day concert performed by the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra from Durban on July 18.

As part of the South Africa France Season 2012-2013, the Paris Quartier d’ete Festival invited the KZN Philharmonic to present a concert promoting 67 minutes of selfless service in honour of Nelson Mandela, whilst also celebrating the former President’s 95th birthday.

The people of Paris embraced the significance of this inspirational concert with standing ovations and lasting applause. The orchestra performed excerpts from uShaka KaSenzangakhona accompanied by the Clermont Community Choir (also from Durban) and praise poet Melusi Kubheka. The poignancy of International Nelson Mandela Day was uppermost as the superb individual voices of soloists Nozuko Teto (soprano), Aubrey Lodewyk (baritone) and Derek Ellis (tenor) accompanied the Orchestra’s rendition of excerpts from the Mandela Trilogy.

In the concert’s opening speeches, Commissioners General of the France South Africa Season, Laurent Clavel (France) and Bongani Tembe (South Africa) acknowledged how much the Season has done to enrich a lasting partnership between the two countries. This was clearly obvious as guest star, world famous South African Yvonne Chaka Chaka, brought the audience to its feet with the Ipi Ntombi Medley and African Suite, supported by the excellence of the Orchestra and the choir in full voice.

After a series of encores the South African national anthem closed the concert, a fitting tribute to elder statesman, Nelson Mandela, who led South Africa to democratic freedom.