When Roger Federer faces fellow countryman and 2014 Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka in Zurich on 21 December 2014, UCT musicians will be waiting on the sidelines to provide entertainment to the capacity crowd.
Excited members of the UCT Ibuyambo Orchestra are rehearsing diligently in preparation for the second match of this kind. Funds raised at the event will benefit the Roger Federer Foundation and aid children living in poverty.
In 2010 Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal battled it out to raise money for education projects in Southern Africa.
Considered Switzerland's biggest charity event for 2014, the exhibition match at Zurich's fully booked Hallenstadion will draw a great deal of media attention and provide an international platform for the African music orchestra from the South African College of Music's African Music Unit.
UCT Ibuyambo pools a unique mix of cultures and instruments – Chopi timbila xylophones, Zulu Maskanda guitars and Mpondo instrumental and vocal styles, as well as the orchestra – enhanced by members' diverse musical backgrounds.
Music lecturer Paul Rommelaere, who will accompany the orchestra members, says they're delighted to have been selected to perform: "The students could just not believe it. Especially after they saw some YouTube clips of the stadium where they will be performing and they began to grasp the magnitude of the situation."
Much of the awe has given way to a determination, however – with the students now feeling "ready to take it on", Rommelaere adds.
The African Music Unit is helping the ten orchestra members prepare for the event. Group leaders Dizu Plaatjies and Matchume Candido Zango will be joined by vocalist-dancers Nomapostile Nyiki, Zinziswa Nogavu and Bongeka Qhanga; dancer Adriana Jamisse; and guitarist-vocalist Thongo Dibanisile Tutsu who will perform alongside Keketso Bolofo, Joseph Weinberg and Dylan Jefferies on percussion and xylophone.
Thanks to a generous sponsorship from Private Safaris, a Swiss travel agency, orchestra members will have their travel and accommodation provided, while guitarist Tutsu will also receive a bursary for a year of study at UCT.
Rommelaere said he hopes this is the start of a harmonious partnership that fosters the exposure and development of African music. "Apart from the bridging of cultures across continents, the UCT Ibuyambo Orchestra is an ambassador for excellence in the performing arts and in particular for the universal appeal of locally produced music."
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