The Ndlovu Youth Choir has shaped several new opportunities to adapt to COVID-19; such as using innovative live-stream performances or covering bold hit singles.

Since their humble beginnings in 2009, Ndlovu Youth Choir has become one of the world’s most cherished choirs thanks to their unique arrangements and vocals, coupled with captivating choreography.

Choir Master Ralf Schmitt recalls the start of the choir. “The Ndlovu Youth Choir started as part of the Orphans and Vulnerable Youth Programme; the Ndlovu Care Group,” Ralf explains.

“As we developed and grew, we realised that our older singers don’t have access to the job market or an education – so we realised, we’ve got a skill – we can sing, and we can generate an income; little did we know our journey would take us to Hollywood and back again!”

Today, the Ndlovu Youth Choir has released several hit songs that have been enjoyed across the far reaches of the globe; and during the COVID-19 pandemic and our national lockdown, the group hasn’t slowed down at all – and has instead channelled their energy into innovative and exciting new avenues.

On July 17th, the group released a new single – titled “We Will Rise”, to celebrate Mandela month and commemorate the national effort and solidarity behind the lockdown.

Notably, the group even broke a technical frontier and hosted a live-stream concert in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation on July 18th. The feat was made possible thanks to an innovative new soundstage which allows the group to perform in front of a green-screen.

“We realised that the only way we were going to perform during COVID was virtually – and this technology allows us to be on any stage around the world!” Ralf explains. “It’s amazing how this technology allows us to continue spreading our love around the world even though we’re not physically there.”

From their own music studio, the Youth Choir continues to release exciting new songs. Ralf notes that the self-built studio comes as a result of needing a “where we could express ourselves artistically… I think Ndlovu has a very unique sound, and it’s all created here.”

Shortly after releasing a COVID-19 awareness song titled ‘Watch Here’, the powerhouse group has issued another single in the form of Jolene – a song originally song written and performed by American Country Music artist, Dolly Parton.

Though social distancing and the national lockdown has changed the landscape of performance and art in South Africa, the Ndlovu Youth Choir continues to not only deliver stunning new songs and performances, but is also a beacon of hope for South Africa’s vulnerable youth.

For the Youth Choir choristers, the chance to sing and perform is a dream come true. For chorister Siyabonga Mahlangu, “the Youth Choir is more than just a choir – when you are in the choir you are with your family.”

Fellow chorister and Logistics Manager Sandile Majola adds that “I have gained a home by being the choir”.

For many around the world, the Ndlovu Youth Choir continues to foster both hope and the enthusiasm of its songs – with many more exciting collaborations, performances, and innovations to come.