Opening remarks at 2012 South African Schools Choral Eisteddfod by Mr Enver Surty, Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Randburg
6 Jul 2012
MECs for Education
Provincial Heads of Department
Representatives of the Department of Arts and Culture
Representatives of Teacher Unions
Our Partners: UNICEF, Via Afrika, National Choral Music Achievement Awards, LoveLife
Educators, Parents and members of School Governing Bodies
Welcome to this year’s opening day of the 11th national South African Schools’ Choral Eisteddfod championships proudly hosted by democratic South Africa’s Department of Basic Education. This year’s Eisteddfod is appropriately coordinated under the apt theme: “Celebrate Centenary through Song”.
The compositions are fittingly dedicated to the 100 Years of Selfless Struggle for freedom, equality and justice – a noble struggle affording us occasion to celebrate the history of the oldest liberation movement on the African continent – the African National Congress (ANC).
‘Thank you’ most warmly to R T Caluza, the composer of the song reflecting exceptionally our history.
This is one of the events in the department’s annual calendar that employ school enrichment programmes to bring people from across the nine provinces together to witness unique talents of the flowers of the nation – our children.
Such occasions, as the Eisteddfod, contribute immensely to the holistic development of children, preparing them for fulfilling roles as productive citizens ready to take on their continent and the world.
Today’s programme, which is only possible because you are here together to complete the jovial and festive mood of this contest, is dedicated to performances of choirs representing schools in the Intermediate Phase.
This year, choirs from the nine provinces will be competing in all seven Intermediate Phase categories, which include:
- Own Choice;
- Mixed Double Quartets;
- Mixed Choirs – Afrikaans;
- Mixed Choirs – English;
- Mixed Choirs – African; and
- Folklore / Indigenous Music.
Through this kaleidoscope of songs and dances of the land, in the various rich languages of the South, we hope to contribute to the strengthening of those rare cultural treasures making us a unique rainbow nation.
This festival of song unfolds in a very important week in the life of the nation when South Africa is on Wednesday and Thursday hosting a National Social Cohesion Summit to help us foster national unity and love for fellow-humans.
The Choral Eisteddfod should serve symbolically as a gift to our nation and as living proof that it is possible to love one another, united in our diversity.
The melody of the young voices in our choirs should teach us to combat and outsmart the pitfalls of violence, crime, abuse, xenophobia and all forms of hatred and malice. These vices we cannot allow to blight the bright future of our young ones.
This is what the Eisteddfod means for us as an education department – a means to unleash talent, entertain, educate while building and nurturing a nation just as a loving mother would an innocent infant.
Congratulations to the learners and schools that have been selected through the various elimination rounds up to the provincial championships to perform at the 2012 national championships.
While only the top three choirs in each of the seven categories will leave the venue with a trophy tonight, what is of importance is that all participants have persevered to reach this level of the competition and thus making them winners in their own right.
Winners are those among us who never quit, who continually persevere to deliver their very best.
May the 2012 South African Schools’ Choral Eisteddfod stand out as one of your best experiences of 2012.
It is an honour therefore to declare the 2012 Eisteddfod officially open.
My message to all choirs, choristers and conductors is: ‘Play on and let the music be the food of life!’
Issued by: Department of Basic Education
6 Jul 2012
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