In the foreword of the 2018 SICMF programme, Festival Director Peter Martens alludes to the fact that “without sport and the arts, there is little common ground upon which to cultivate a united spirit in a diverse nation.”

It is perhaps not surprising then that the SICMF would at some point turn to South Africa’s vast array of sports personalities for their next celebrity narrator. This year SuperSport’s lead rugby anchor, Xola Ntshinga, has availed himself for the task.

Xola has an impressive CV having dabbled successfully in the business world before becoming a sports journalist of note. Perhaps of most significance here is the fact that Xola went to the famed Drakensberg Boys Choir School, meaning that his finely tuned ear and cultivated musicianship of years gone by will stand him in good stead when he narrates Peter Louis van Dijk’s Musicians of Bremen on the 14th of July in the Endler Hall. The Festival Concert Orchestra will be conducted by the composer’s son, Xandi, who is currently carving out a musical career of note in Germany.

The SICMF last programmed this work in 2014 with Casper de Vries as narrator. Other SICMF celebrity narrators have included Nataniël, Armand Aucamp, Nico Panagio and Tumi Morako.

In 2013, the narrator was none other than Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. Just hours after his moving performance of another work by Peter Louis van Dijk, he wrote, “It gives so much hope for our children. I was deeply moved as I looked at black kids from the so called informal settlements playing those instruments. It says wow – we have such fantastic potential. And you helped us to hold on to the dream of 1994. Thank you.”

In 2016, Denis Goldberg took to the stage in moving rendition of Moments in a Life for which he wrote the text and for which the music was composed by Xandi’s brother, Matthijs. Goldberg wrote, “I thank the SICMF for harnessing the power of music for social cohesion and community development, by creating a platform where we can listen to each other and share each other’s stories. And I thank the SICMF for playing to large nonracial audiences to overcome our divided past.” Denis Goldberg has since become a patron of the SICMF.

Tickets for the evening faculty concerts (6 to 15 July) have more often than not sold out in years past. Buy tickets early from Computicket to avoid disappointment.


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