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Wednesday, May 27, 2020


(Right: Bongani Tembe)

COVID-19 may be keeping everyone at home, but it hasn’t stopped the music! Bongani Tembe, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of both the Johannesburg and KZN Philharmonic Orchestras, led a group of singers who recorded (whilst observing strict social distancing guidelines) the official African Union Anthem to celebrate Africa Day. They were accompanied by 100 musicians from the Johannesburg and KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestras, who performed their parts from their respective homes. This collaboration resulted in a powerful and moving performance which aims to inspire hope, encourage compassion and motivate Africans across the continent to continue to support one another and work together to defeat this global pandemic.

Africa Day is significant because it commemorates the African Union’s success in triumphing over oppression. It is also a day to celebrate the diversity of Africans and to reflect on the progress Africa has made despite its challenges. “Many people are not familiar with the official African Union Anthem. This collaboration gave us the perfect opportunity to reignite the message of hope and remind our fellow Africans of its message – Let us all unite and stand together.” says Tembe.

South Africa also celebrates Africa Month, in May, to increase the appreciation and demand for arts and culture goods and services and to stimulate competitive markets for trade among African countries.

Tembe added, “We are indeed grateful to have dedicated musicians who perform with passion and appreciate their responsibility to bring a sense of peace and hope to thousands of Africans across our beloved African continent. We are also very thankful of skilful efforts of Eddie Clayton, who did the orchestral arrangements, and DT Productions who are responsible for technical production of this video.”

Following on the success of the Amazing Grace (which went viral) and Mother’s Day Tribute videos, this virtual performance is the third video collaboration between the two orchestras and one of many more to come from the orchestras as the industry embarks on new ways to entertain and connect with audiences during the COVID-19 national lockdown.

Click here to view the African Union Anthem performed by singers and the Johannesburg (JPO) and KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Philharmonic Orchestras:

(To link direct to the KZN Philharmonic’s website click on the orchestra’s banner advert on the top of the page or visit