national Arts Festival Banner

Sunday, March 4, 2018


One Divided Country. One United Choir. One Courageous Journey.

They said it couldn’t – and shouldn’t – be done.  South Africa was in flames from political violence, and the apartheid government wasn’t willing to 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. 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 Tony-award winning actor John Kani, Abigail Kubeka, Sharon Katz, Nonhlanhla Wanda and the cast of The Peace Train. 

When Voices Meet is set at the time 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 the divided country 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, Washington, DC and all across America.

When Voices Meet documents the trials, tribulations and triumphs of those musician activists and young choir members. They performed together for seven years and then reunited 20 years later to tell their stories and reflect upon The Peace Train’s impact. It’s a joyful, inspiring story of hope and determination despite tremendous obstacles, including lessons that apply to American issues today.

When Voices Meet was awarded Best Documentary Film, Best Original Soundtrack, Best Director, President’s Award and Audience Award in the USA and received the MADA Award in Toronto. Film screenings across North America in 2015-16 include St. Louis Int’l Film Festival; Philadelphia Film Festival; Chicago Int’l Social Change Film Festival; Ft. Lauderdale Int’l Film Festival; Toronto’s Global Community Film Festival & South African Film Festival; Route 66 Film Festival; Jersey City Int’l TV & Film Festival; Omaha Film Festival; Antigonish Film Festival, Nova Scotia; Teaneck Int’l Film Festival, New Jersey; Waimea Ocean Film Festival, Hawaii; Reel Work Film Festival in Monterey, CA; CineCulture in Fresno, CA; Berkeley Film Foundation, CA; CIIS in San Francisco, CA.

When Voices Meet premiered in South Africa at the Durban International Film Festival in 2015 and was screened at the Johannesburg Holocaust Center in 2017.

Alliance Française de Durban will host a free screening of the documentary on April 28 at 18h00 followed by Q&A with Executive Producer of the documentary, Marilyn Cohen, as well as Nonhlanhla Wanda & Sharon Katz who are part of the cast.

The Award-Winning Documentary Feature Film received Best Documentary, Best Original Soundtrack & Best Director and Audience Award as well as the President’s Award.

Alliance Française de Durban is situated at 22 Sutton Crescent (off Windermere Road) in Morningside.

For more information on When Voices Meet, visit