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Tuesday, January 10, 2023



(Sharon Katz & Nonhlanhla Wanda – photo supplied)

Nonhlanhla Wanda, a celebrated Durban based singer and teacher, died of cancer on January 5, 2023. Originally from Umbumbulu, her parents, "Scara" Selby and Zethu Wanda moved to Chesterville. She trained as a teacher and taught elementary school for 30 years. She was about to retire on her 60th birthday on April 22, 2023.

In 1992, Wanda met Sharon Katz from Port Elizabeth/Gqeberha, and Marilyn Cohen from the USA. It was still during Apartheid and it was very difficult for a black person to trust whites, but they had the same vision for the future of South Africa and became best friends, soul sisters and musical partners for life. Together, they formed a 500-Voice mixed race children’s choir to perform in Durban City Hall and then took 150 of the children aboard The Peace Train to perform all across South Africa in 1993.

After Nelson Mandela was elected President, Wanda and Katz performed for many of his special events. A multi-award- winning documentary film about their work together called When Voices Meet was produced in 2015 and shown in over 30 film festivals around the world as well as on TV throughout Africa, the USA and Japan.

They wrote and recorded many songs and albums together and performed all across the USA, Canada, Middle East, Mexico and Cuba. To celebrate 25 years of their musical collaborations, they recorded the album Side-By-Side and then worked on a new album, We Can Be The Change. They were planning a new album and a performance tour in the USA for May 2023 to mark the 30th anniversary of The Peace Train Project.

Around 2003, Wanda co-founded a band called "Iva" with local musicians and they were very active performing in Durban until the band leader Vuyani passed away. She was also very active in the women’s music industry in Durban and worked closely with the BAT Centre.

She was also Head of School at Nsimbini Primary School where she played a large role in supervising the education of the learners who mostly come from informal settlements. Together with The Peace Train, Wanda founded a feeding programme for the children that was taken over by the government and continues to this day.

Nonhlanhla Wanda is survived by her daughter Jabulile (41), her son Simpiwe (29), and her granddaughter Nomti (20).

Her funeral will be at 09h00 at the Chesterville Hall on Saturday January 14, 2023.


For more information on Sharon Katz & The Peace Train, visit