Review: 'Melodi: A South African Choral Evolution' at UJ

05 Mar 2024
On Sat, Feb 24 2024, UJ Arts & Culture’s Keorapetse William Kgositsile Theatre became the stage for a captivating choral experience: Melodi: A South African Choral Evolution. Curated by UJ’s Artist in Residence, Sabelo Mthembu, Melodi unfolded into a rich tapestry of choral melodies, delving deep into four eras of societal and political influences that have shaped South Africa's choral music tradition.

Mthembu's production wove together a soul-stirring narrative that took the audience on a journey through history, using choral music as its vehicle. The performance skilfully navigated the early pre-colonial period, colonisation, and the battles of the nation’s apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
The coming together of 'Melodi'. Photo: Supplied.

Melodi showcased the evolution of South African choral music, blending historical depth with musical brilliance in rich and nuanced ways, with an overlay of jazz. Powerful storytelling was at the heart of this production aimed at an appreciative audience of music enthusiasts and curious minds, 

One composition that resonated deeply with the audience was "Thina Sizwe”, which reflected on the historical struggles faced by the black nation during the apartheid era.

Melodi was memorable in its ability to transcend the boundaries of time and connect with the audience on a soulful level. While this reviewer found the final composition of the production slightly disconnected from the intended theme (the inclusion of the writer's biography felt as if it deviated from the journey through the historical timelines the production aimed to provide), the production as a whole was enormously impactful. 
The performance showcased the evolution of South African choral music. Photo: Supplied.

In the context of commemorating 30 years of democracy, Melodi served as a catalyst for reflection, fostering remembrance and appreciation of South Africa's history. The success of Melodi lies in the production's ability to evoke deep emotions and connect with the audience, reinforcing the significance of choral music as a vessel for cultural preservation and storytelling.

Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter for all the latest news and reviews.

University of Johannesburg

​Cnr Kingsway and University Rd, Auckland Park​


Connect via social media
google sign in button
Leave a comment using your email This e-mail address is not valid
Please enter your name*

Please share your location

Enter your message*
Put our app in your pocket
This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more here. AGREE