Members of Duze Nomshikashika and local artists in East Bank, Alexandra. Photo: Nduduzo Nxumalo
The late American jazz singer and music writer Ella Fitzgerald once said music is the universal language that brings people together.
Her words were proven to be true during the apartheid era in South Africa when people from different parts of the world used music to express their solidarity to the then oppressed black people in South Africa.
It was during those days of the apartheid regime that a Dutch acapella music group Duze Nomshikashika was born to show solidarity with the oppressed people in South Africa. The choir with more than 30 members was formed in 1986 and continues sing South African songs in black ethnic languages to show support to local people even today.
The Netherlands-based group recently visited Alexandra to learn more about the country’s struggles and help local organisations in the fight against the new mushrooming challenges faced by local people which include gender-based violence and crime.
A member of the group Marianne Winter said they visited the country to strengthen their relationship with local artists and learn new songs because the struggle had changed.
“Our group was formed in 1986 by members whom some of them have passed away,” she said.
“The aim of the group back then was to sing songs that were showing solidarity to the oppressed people of South Africa during the apartheid era. However, the struggle of South Africans in this democratic regime has changed. “Besides learning new songs, we also want to share with local people our experiences on how to fight social ills like domestic violence and gender-based violence. The topics that are relevant to South Africans today are also relevant to us in the Netherlands.”
Aveline ‘Tautshadi’ Twala, a local music artist and co-founder of Palesa Afrika Music group who hosted the Dutch visitors said, “I met the group during my tour with African Mammas in Netherlands some time ago. We connected and exchanged contacts. The group is on a tour and we’ve decided that today we come together as artists and local people to have some good times with the group. We will sing together, learn new songs from the younger generation and share life experiences so that we can fight against problems that our countries are facing today.”