Since 2016 the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival, a project of Stellenbosch University’s Department of Music, has used its platform to tell the stories of South Africans who have shaped our country. Some like Desmond Tutu have been in the public eye for decades. Others like Denis Goldberg have not been part of mainstream news prior to 2016. All these stories need to be told, and all the more poignantly so, from the stage of an institution so inextricably linked to our divisive past, but committed to an inclusive future.

This year, the SICMF has commissioned a collaborative work from Stellenbosch-based composers Antoni Schonken and Arthur Feder. The commission’s aim is to honour Johnny Clegg, an iconic musical figure from the anti-apartheid struggle. Together with his bands Juluka and Savuka, Clegg bridged racial divides by merging Zulu and English lyrics in an idiom inspired by the music of both cultures. The work bears the title … there was no way back, in reference to a statement Clegg made after his mother first became acquainted with his cross-over style. 

The SICMF is excited to announce the Soweto-born star Gloria Bosman as narrator for this performance. With an ever-growing list of honours, including two SA Music Awards (SAMA) – eleven nominations currently and two KORA nominations, she is one of South Africa’s most celebrated singers. Having shared the stage with Hugh Masekela, Sibongile Khumalo, Moses Molelekwa, Tananas and Sipho Mabuse to name just a few, she recently participated in the Crossing, a project in which the who’s who of SA musicians collaborated to celebrate the life and music of Clegg by recoding together in his honour over and above which afund aptly named “Friends of Johnny Clegg” was created to help alleviate the education crisis in South Africa. 

Flanked by works by Hans Roosenschoon and Johannes Brahms, the world premiere of … there was no way back will take place on Monday 8 July in the Endler hall as part of the fourth faculty concert of the 16thStellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival.


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