World Choir Games Launch: Mayor Solly Msimanga Speech
The South African local organising committee officially launched the World Choir Games at the Sun Arena, Time Square on 5 June 2018. This is the speech delivered by the Executive Mayor of the City of Tshwane, Solly Msimanga.
Mayors of African capital cities and African cities
Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Ambassador Bene M’Poko
Members of the Mayoral Committee
Come July, the City of Tshwane will score an African first and host the World Choir Games – the “Olympics” of the global choral community – helping to celebrate the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth in melodious style and put our capital city on the international musical map.
I am happy to announce that this will be done in partnership with JacarandaFM as our official media partner.
The City is proud to host the 10th edition of this prestigious event in the same month as the centenary of the birth of our first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela, for whom music was a “great blessing”. He was fond of saying that “music has the power to elevate and liberate us. It sets people free to dream. It can unite us to sing with one voice. Such is the value of music.”
The games will see 16 500 participants, bringing family and friends, arrive in Tshwane for a fortnight of music and song, from 4 to 14 July. The World Choir Games, held every two years, is the largest choir competition on the international calendar.
This year, more than 300 choirs from 59 countries will take part in 500 competition concerts and 50 friendship performances. The World Choir Games aim to build bridges between nations and communities through music and song.
Music is a universally-shared language that has the ability to cross all boundaries, helping to build a sense of well-being and social cohesion and bringing a message of peace and a much-needed refuge, particularly in times of crisis and conflict across the Globe.
It is fitting for the City of Tshwane to host such an important event in such an important year. This year marks the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela, and July is the month in which people globally donate time to uplift their local communities in memory of Mandela’s 67 years of sacrifice to make South Africa a better place.
Apart from contributing to understanding and peace among nations, this amazing festival plays an invaluable role in celebrating arts and culture in our city, in our country, and across the continent.
This is the first time that the World Choir Games will take place in Africa, so the City of Tshwane is determined to make this an all-embracing African event. Tshwane is the country’s diplomatic hub, home to 134 embassies and high commissions – the second largest behind Washington DC.
The event will boost the profile of Tshwane globally, regionally and locally as a destination of choice, specifically as a city capable of hosting mega-events.
Apart from contributing to understanding and peace among nations, the games will probably have a great impact on Tshwane’s local economy – through providing accommodation, meals, tourist attractions and transport.
Tourism is one of Tshwane’s key economic drivers, and the City of Tshwane plans to ensure that the travel and tourism sector plays an important role during the games.
The City wants to encourage all our visitors to travel around our capital city, to listen to the fabulous music of our townships, to hear the stories of our city, to taste the variety of foods we eat, to learn about our history and heritage – and to experience the warmth of our people. We want our visitors to explore Tshwane as a destination.
An independent impact study has found that “the hosting of the World Choir Games has given Tshwane a golden opportunity to showcase itself again as a leading global Destination”.
The City of Tshwane is expecting 40,000 visitors directly linked to the choirs, and a further 40,000 people coming into the city to support the World Choir Games and its related programmes. The impact study has estimated that this single event should produce more than 150 000 visitors a day. The direct spending stimulus is estimated to bring in R300 million, with an indirect economic impact of more than R455 million.
This milestone comes on the back of the City of Tshwane’s hosting of the African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum during Sustainability Week whereby Mayoral delegations from 35 African capital cities have converged in Tshwane to delve into the interlinkages between sustainable development, climate change and poverty reduction in the shared belief that African cities are at the forefront of change in Africa.
The launch of the World Choir Games here in the Sun Arena is also significant as it mirrors our vision of a sustainable city. This venue is part of Menlyn Maine which is a 315,000m2 purpose-designed green mini-city combining office, commercial, residential and entertainment spaces.
Menlyn Maine is not only the largest project of its kind within Tshwane but one of the most ambitious projects of its kind in Southern Africa. The developers of Menlyn Maine have partnered with the international Clinton Climate Initiative and the precinct is 1 of only 17 green cities that will be built in various countries and the only 1 in Africa. It is noteworthy that the City of Tshwane is also the only municipality in South Africa that has a Green Building By-law and a member of the Green Building Council of South Africa’s Green Building Leadership Network.
Our sustainability trajectory has led to the City embarking on an ambitious climate action planning process aimed at mainstreaming climate change considerations into all departmental plans and programmes. This is important to the City of Tshwane, given its mandate of building a local and green economy and create job opportunities.
Since the City of Tshwane is also determined to transform its society, any event held in Tshwane must build social cohesion and uplift impoverished communities. With that in mind, the City of Tshwane will be supporting 600 volunteers who will be helping out during the World Choir Games.
In addition, the City of Tshwane is also thrilled to announce that 10 local community choirs will be taking part in the World Choir Games free of charge, becoming part of this global event.
We are also ensuring that the impact of the World Choir Games will be felt far and wide in Tshwane. We will be hosting friendship concerts across our regions to ensure that everyone is given the chance to be part of this harmonious event. For example, on 7 July we will be celebrating at Kwalata Game Lodge in Dinokeng with the community of Hammanskraal along with three of our international choirs.
On 8 July the City of Tshwane will be hosting, with Sun International, an Africa Celebrates Concert of all our African and community choirs. Here you will be asked to pay an entrance fee – a pair of shoes, a toiletry bag or a blanket, which will be donated to the neediest in Tshwane. This concert will become one of our legacy events.
We want to show the world that we are indeed a city that lives by the philosophy “Re a Tshwana”.
The City of Tshwane wishes to acknowledge the Gauteng Provincial Government, Gauteng Tourism Association and other role players for their support in ensuring that the games are successful.