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A Conversation with Chris Hani High School Band

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Founded in 1993, Chris Hani High School is an Arts and Music focus school based in Khayelitsha in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. The high school band set the tone as the curtain raiser performance of Saturday 1 April 2017, performing on the Basil “Manenberg” Coetzee Stage at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.

Chris Hani High School-PHOTOGRAPHER RASHID LATIFF_COURTESY espAFrika (13)

The Chris Hani High School Band curtain raising at the Basil “Manenberg” Coetzee Stage at the 18th Cape Town International Jazz Festival 2017. Photographer Rashid Latiff Courtesy of espAFrika.

In 2003 the Western Cape Education Department initiated an identification and transformation of schools programme for high schools. In 2005 after extensive consultation with the school students, educators, the schools governing body as well as the community of Khayelitsha, a unanimous and collective agreement was reached and the school chose to adopt an arts and culture discipline and code. Chris Hani High School Principal, Mr Mahlutshana Madoda says: “Black schools did not offer the arts curriculum, so we were given the opportunity to choose and the community chose to extend the curriculum of the school to have a focus aspect in arts and culture.”

Mr Madoda continues, “The school has changed its complexion in terms of the students it recruits and in terms of the output, the kinds of learners it produces. They grow out to become entrepreneurs, while others have gone on to focus on music and arts development beyond the school as they have been equipped with the fundamentals in both the theoretical and practical aspects of managing the arts, with a curriculum in arts as well as performance.”

Chris Hani High School - Photographer Rashid Latiff Courtesy of espAFrika - House On Radio

The Chris Hani High School Band performing at the 18th Cape Town International Jazz Festival 2017, dressed in their school uniform. Photographer Rashid Latiff Courtesy of espAFrika.

The students came out in their full school regalia, with the girls in bright white shirts and appropriately lengthened turquoise skirts while the boys wore their traditional grey trousers and school blazers. The Chris Hani High School band is an ensemble of vocal artists in the form of a harmonic choir and instrumentalists. The high school band offered audiences their special renditions of South African favourites including ‘Angelina’ by Caiphus Semenya and Letta Mbulu, ‘Weekend Special’ by the late great Brenda Fassie and ‘Trigger’ by Mobi Dixon featuring Inga Hina taken off the 2017 Metro FM award winning urban house music album ‘Live The Music’.

Throughout the high school bands entire performance, I found myself standing along the front side of the barricade that surrounds the Front of House. This gave me the opportunity to reach Bradley Shilibane, a professional Lighting and Rigging Technician who offered his professional perspective on the bands overall performance, “The band was well harmonized, great playing and equally great singing”.

Chris Hani High School-PHOTOGRAPHER RASHID LATIFF_COURTESY espAFrika (8)

Marimba and percussion players of the Chris Hani High School Band performing at the 18th Cape Town International Jazz Festival 2017. Photographer Rashid Latiff Courtesy of espAFrika.

Chris Hani High School Band Members

Mahlutshana Madoda – Chris Hani High School Principal

Donveno Prins – Musical Director

Sinethemba Gqola – Choir Master and Music Conductor

Choir

Bongile Sulelo, Mbulelo Ningi, Mandilakhe Madikane, Yanga Quleka, Ayanda Pheke, Luvo Madarha, Buyile Kokose, Sive Dlova, Ayabulela Pheke, Thozamile Gomomo, Ayabulela Thabile, Lonwabo Matshaya, Esona Vena, Mihle Mcatshukelwa, Aneliswe Maswana, Busisiwe Makalima, Busisiwe Zingithwa, Yolanda Tshapu, Ongenziwe Sopiseka, Zintle Kati, Amanda Ntukela

Piano

Inganam Batala

Guitar

Sakhumzi Mamputa

Marimbas and Percussion

Vuysani Mkwambi, Athenkosi Halu, Ayabulela Nzima, Bonga Hatana.

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FYI

Our collaborator Tsholo Moteka (@TsholoMaestro) interviewed the principal and students of the Chris Hani High School Band ahead of their performance at the 18th Cape Town International Jazz Festival in April 2017. Join the conversation on #CTIJF2017

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