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The return of the ABC Motsepe SASCE National Championship is music to the ears

Good news is that the ABC Motsepe South African Schools Choral Eisteddfod (SASCE) National Championship, one of the Department’s most significant cultural events on the annual school calendar since 2001, will again be celebrating the musical talents of South African learners from 28 June to 1 July 2022. The aim of the competition is to enhance the talents of South African learners through on-stage musical performance and song. The Eisteddfod programme, which is part of the DBE’s school enrichment programme, focuses on promoting unity in diversity; national reconciliation; positive values; a South African national identity; and social transformation and social cohesion amongst school-going South African youth.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, extra-curricular mass activities such as the ABC Motsepe SASCE National Championship could not take place during the past two years. The DBE, last year, in association with Cape Town Opera (CTO), produced an e-learning series, Sing Like A Pro Masterclass, performed by learners, as an educational tool. The e-learning programme, an extension of 2020’s Sing like a Pro, was a series of instructional videos with step-by-step content that included background information; pronunciation; translation; style; and interpretation. Module 2 and 3 are for sopranos; module 4 and 5 for mezzos; 6 and 7 for tenors; 8 and 9 for bass baritones; and the remaining modules are for the ensembles. The CTO Youth Development worked with learners from their partner schools, as well as professional opera singers, to produce the content. During 2021, this e-learning series was translated into Sesotho, IsiXhosa and IsiZulu.

Each year the Eisteddfod draws in thousands of learners from across the country to compete in this prestigious event with more than 95 secondary schools and 60 primary schools participating with 60 members per choir and totalling over 6,500 participants. The competition has more than 30 different categories at national level and runs for four days. The first day of the competition is dedicated to primary schools. The other three days showcase secondary schools that perform various pieces from choir, opera, and indigenous folklore. The ABC Motsepe SASCE Eisteddfod has opened many doors for acclaimed international artists such as Pretty Yende, Phumeza Matshikiza, Given Nkosi and Hlengiwe Mkhwanazi.

KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape were the winning provinces during the National Championship held at Rhema Bible Church in Randburg, Gauteng Province, from 25 to 29 June 2019. The provincial leg of the 2022 Championship will be taking place within the various provinces during May, leading up to the National Championship.

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