national Arts Festival Banner

Thursday, May 30, 2024



(Above: Ndumiso Manana. Pic supplied)

Ndumiso Manana, South Africa’s Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter recently visited his alma mater, Drakensberg Boys Choir School, and paid homage to his musical roots nurtured at the school during his five-year attendance at the school and as a member of its world-renowned boys’ choir.

South African musician Manana’s musical journey started when he was a choir boy at Drakensberg Boys Choir School, also known as Drakies. Eswatini-born Ndumiso Manana joined Drakies, in Grade 4 and attended until grade 9 in 2008.

Manana won a Grammy for his writing work on Burna Boy's song Time Flies, which featured on the 2020 record Twice as Tall. Manana was also part of the project's Global Music Album Grammy win in 2021. In 2021, the talented singer and songwriter also released a song, I Can't Believe I Get to Call You Mine as a wedding gift to his wife, Vuyi Manana.

In a recent media interview, Manana said of his time at Drakies: "Joining Drakensberg Boys Choir School was probably the most influential moment that took me on this path in music because my parents and family aren't really musical."

However, Manana holds music education and Drakies and thereafter in very high regard because it has significantly impacted his musical art and balanced approach to life. He was quoted in the media saying: "I always tell people that I give all credit to the education and learning that I received over my life, especially in music."

DBCS Executive Head Dave Cato states: “It was an enormous privilege for the school (DBCS) to welcome home the Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter and Drakie Old Boy from the class of 2008. It is fantastic to see how our alumni go from strength to strength, applying the principles that are at the heart of Drakie-life including the high work ethic, education focus and pursuing musical excellence.”

In his humble, self-effacing manner, Manna portrayed the essence of the Drakie core values while interacting with staff and boys during his visit. The school’s Academic Head, Erika Linde, remembers him as a polite, well-liked Drakie boy who earned the respect of his peers. Manana was a standout chorister with a stellar profile as a soloist during his tenure in the choir.

Vaughan van Zyl, DBCS Artistic Director, concluded: “Manana’s inspirational visit will remain a distinct highlight for our staff and boys.” He noted that the school is very proud of how anchored Manana pursues his clear artistic vision. “Diversity in one’s repertoire is always important. Manana strives for a unique style that transcends genres in his repertoire, using the best of various styles to bring world-class music to his audiences.”

For more information on the Drakensberg Boys Choir, visit