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Friday, May 29, 2015


(Sharon Katz)

When Nelson Mandela was finally released from prison, South African musician and music therapist Sharon Katz joined with singer and educator Nonhlanhla Wanda to form a 500-voice multiracial choir to break through Apartheid’s barriers. Threatened with bombs and thwarted at every turn, they prevailed and railroaded across the country aboard The Peace Train.

Singing their way into the hearts, minds and soul of a divided South Africa in the midst of a civil war, they promoted a peaceful transition to democracy and went on to become Mandela’s face of the new nation by performing at special events in South Africa and America.

What happened then, and what’s happening in the country now, are depicted in the compelling and joyful new documentary film, When Voices Meet, starring John Kani, Abigail Kubeka, Sharon Katz, Nonhlanhla Wanda and the cast of The Peace Train.  Its world premiere will be at the Durban International Film Festival in July 2015.

“They said it couldn’t – and shouldn’t – be done,” says Sharon Katz. “KwaZulu-Natal was in flames from political violence, and the apartheid government wasn’t ready for the transition to a nonracial democracy. But as thousands lined the streets around Durban City Hall in 1993 to attend the original When Voices Meet concert with its 500-voice multicultural choir and band, the way forward became clear. And when those courageous musicians were joined by Ladysmith Black Mambazo to take their message across the country aboard The Peace Train, there was no turning back.“

When Voices Meet documents the trials, tribulations and triumphs of those musician activists and young choir members. They performed together for seven years; never lost touch with one another; and then reunited 20 years later to tell their stories and reflect upon The Peace Train’s impact on their views of South Africa today.

“It’s an inspiring, global story of determination and hope despite tremendous obstacles, and shows a South Africa we all need to remember,” adds Katz.

When Voices Meet has already been nominated for Best Documentary Film, Best Original Music/Soundtrack and Best Director in the USA and will be screening across America this year.

Music is by Sharon Katz with sound by Malcolm Nhleko. Cinematography is by Croc Ngwenya, Malcolm Nhleko, Marilyn Cohen, Mark Kaplan, and Satish Dhupelia. Story consultants were Clive Read and Nonhlanhla Wanda with Nancy Sutton Smith as producer, director and editor. The Executive Producer of the film is Marilyn Cohen.

For more information email Sharon Katz and Marilyn Cohen at or visit or Facebook: or Twitter: