The Ingoma Choir was set up in 2017 as an initiative to uplift the community of Imizamo Yethu, Hout Bay, about 20km outside Cape Town. Like most South African 'townships', this one, whilst being a vibrant community brimming with untapped potential and wonderful people, is rife with challenges of social and economic deprivation - unemployment, crime, informal housing and associated 'shack fires'.
There is a strong traditional of beautiful choral singing in South Africa, and the founder, a local resident, thought this could be used as a positive route to empower, enrich and uplift the members of the community, and to bring people together across racial and cultural divides...so she found an experienced conductor, got some advice, and held auditions to find the most talented singers in the community. Three years on we have achieved so much - hosted sell-out concerts, appeared on TV, and been hired for numerous weddings and other events. There are currently 28 members of the choir, aged between 17 and 40 - including some students, with others employed in shops, restaurants and petrol stations, and others unable to find work. Several are single mothers and most are from deprived and unstable backgrounds, living in shacks and living day-to-day with very few material resources,.
We like to see the choir more as a social enterprise than a charity - with people being rewarded for their singing talent and professionalism - when we charge for an event, the money gets split between the singers and conductor - and subsidies to date have been provided personally by the founder. But this year - particularly in the light of the pandemic which has put all paid performances on hold, and which, tragically, claimed the life of our very own lead conductor Zamile Gantana - we need more help in order to keep growing and reaching our potential. Ingoma is now a registered non-profit company with a board of directors and we have some big dreams we are chasing; we want to evolve from a passion project to something long-lasting and professional.
To give an idea of our costs and how funds will be spent:R100,000 / £5,000 / $6,000 are the approximate essential annual running costs. This pays for
- rehearsal venue
- basic pay for a conductor
- some essential travel
- uniform maintenance.
- extra voice tuition
- a studio recording and production of a CD
- basic marketing and website improvement
- an annual weekend away-camp with musical and life-skills development
- entry of choir competitions
- an annual photo shoot
- team activities beneficial for self-development
R600,000 / £28,000 / $35,000 a year would allow us to expand on this with
- vocal masterclasses
- development of soloists
- the possibility of pianist and chamber orchestra accompaniment
- a counselor for pastoral support
- a skills bursary for e.g. driving lessons, fitness, study support, job skills
- a videographer for performances
- community events and expansion into other community arts projects e.g. theatre
Beyond this there are two long-term goals we are reaching towards:
Our own minibus transport with Ingoma on the side to get us touring around the country and take us to gigs! We'd need to raise R500,000 / £25,000 / $30,000
A trip to Europe or the UK to perform and delight audiences there.
We'd need to raise R1,000,000 / £50,000 / $60,000