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Saturday, November 11, 2017


(Chris Ntuli & Durban Black Drifters)

Durban Black Drifters will host the 15th High Schools Isicathamiya Choir Competition, #Isicathamiya Summit, to be held at the Playhouse Opera on November 30 at 10h00.

Only 50 schools are expected to participate in this song & dance music event. Huge cash prizes totalling R25,000 and trophies are up for grabs. The 1st prize is R15,000, 2nd prize is R6,000 and 3rd prize is R4,000. SABC, Ukhozi FM Joe Hudla will compere this show for the 10th time. Students will be entertained by Isicathamiya veteran groups such as Natal Try Singers, Zulu Messengers and Women’s Group, while Eric ‘’Coolfire’’ Hadebe will rekindle ancestors with the burning of impepho (incense) during the opening of this show.

The invite list includes Ukhozi FM’s Thanda Ndlovu, Zim Dolla, Dr T. Biyela, Juba Special and top government officials. The 15th Isicathamiya High Schools Choir Competition seeks to preserve, promote, educate and develop this genre at grassroots level so that the music can stay for generations as it is on the verge of extinction.

Started in 1992 as a workshop project by Durban Black Drifters, the event has established and transferred skills to over 2,000 school groups. It has won a BASA award and numerous other cultural awards as the best youth-based Isicathamiya music development project. DBD has been in music for three decades. They’ve toured France, Belgium, Norway, Canada, USA, China and Japan. Drifters have also appeared in a Broadway musical written by American playwright, Ermill Thrower, called ’Hurricane Katrina’’, dedicated to the flood victims of New Orleans in 2004.

Ntuli, as a leader, has worked and recorded two albums with Ladysmith Black Mambazo entitled ’Ukuzala Ukuzelula and Thuthukani Ngoxolo. He later translated both albums for Paul Simon with a little help from a friend, Msizi Shabalala. He further appeared with Mambazo on King Cetshwayo musical play, written and directed by Prince Njengabantu Zulu who had just came back from exile in America in 1994. The others he has recorded with include Aerto Moreira (Brazil), Madala Kunene, and all late musicians Sipho Gumede, Busi Mhlongo and Jabu Khanyile.

He has come a long way with his music when he first came to Durban in the early 70’s. he spent his first two years on the streets in Point eking out a living from shipping contractors earning R2 a day. When the chips were down, he would go for days without a meal. Having worked for various publications, Chris Ntuli is a rare and unique kind of musician who possesses many years of experience in marketing and media. Before engaging in music fulltime, he was employed as a sales promotions manager for a long established national daily newspaper, Sowetan. He also holds a modelling diploma obtained in 1983 from Sexy Katz Modelling School in Bree Street Arcade in Johannesburg.

Ntuli boasts huge experience in music mixing and mastering gained from working extensively under the leadership of Joseph Shabalala and award-winning engineer, Neil Snyman. He also recorded and produced the first Isicathamiya compilation CD released under Universal Music label, featuring 17 Durban-based veteran Isicathamiya groups in 2010.

DBD Entertainment in association with the Playhouse Company will award two veteran journos, Billy Suter and Charles Khuzwayo, for their coverage of this event for the past 14 years. The 15th High Schools Isicathamiya Choir Competition is sponsored by the Department of Arts & Culture, Mzansi Golden Economy and managed by DBD Entertainment. Drifters is still calling on businesses and Lotto for sponsorship of the event.

Entrance is free and people attending this event should dress formal, smart casual or traditional. Weapons, bottles, drugs, alcohol, bags, suitcases and students without school uniform are all not allowed.

Schools are urged to register now by sending an SMS with the word ‘’Yes’’, their school name, place and contact person to 073 301 6740 – available 24/7. Previous DVD’s available for sale at R150 a copy.