THE Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Choir will represent Africa at the 11th International Chorus Festival and World Choral Summit from Sunday in Beijing, China.
Choir members treated friends and family to an impromptu performance of Mandela Medley – one of the items they will perform in China – at the Port Elizabeth International Airport ahead of their departure last night.
Chairwoman and choir member Danai Tembo said: "I am so excited. I get to go to a new country with my family [the choir].”
Nomkhitha Cakata, who has never been overseas, said she was nervous about the trip.
"The nervousness is for reaching the standard expected of us.”
The choir is Africa’s only representative – one choir from each continent has been invited.
"It’s going to be an adventure culturally. I can’t wait to experience something different from what we are used to,” third-year music student Andrea Morris said.
The dynamic choir is directed by Junita van Dijk, who describes her job as "ongoing hard work”.
"We’re always trying to better our standards and be more creative,” she said.
The choir has prepared a repertoire featuring classical, contemporary and traditional music.
Van Dijk said the group personified an ideal united South Africa when they danced and harmonised together.
"It is bright and beautiful. That is what is gripping the world. They can see it’s not window dressing. What they see is what they get,” she said.
The choir will host a workshop on African music at the summit.
The choir collaborated with Port Elizabeth-based advertising agency Boomtown to create an advertisement for the university’s 2012 applicants.
In the ad, the choir is featured in a five-minute flash-mob performance at Greenacres shopping centre.