Gauteng becomes the stage for World Choir Games

The Gauteng Tourism Authority (GTA) welcomed participants from around the world to the tenth World Choir Games, which was held in Tshwane (Pretoria) between July 5 and 14.

THE games attracted 16 000 participants from more than 60 countries to Tshwane, which won the rights to host the event following the 2016 World Choir Games in Sochi, Russia.

The games took place at various venues around the city, including the South African State Theatre, St Alban’s Cathedral in Pretoria Central, ZK Matthews Great Hall at the University of South Africa, and the Musaion and Aula Theatre at the Hatfield Campus of the University of Pretoria (UP).

The World Choir Games Village was set up at the Hellenic Community Centre, across the road from the UP Hatfield campus. The village hosted the games’ main operation centre, and held a range of entertainment attractions, live music, and a market every day during the games. The village also had a range of dining options as well as souvenirs on sale for the participants. The market offered taxi services to those who wished to explore the city, along with packaged tours and guides.

Speaking at a media conference ahead of the opening ceremony, which was held at the Sun Arena in the Menlyn Maine precinct on July 4, Gauteng Tourism board member, Michael Sass, said: “I can’t find words to express how excited we are to host this prestigious event in Gauteng. It gives us an opportunity to showcase what the Gauteng city region, South Africa and Africa are about.”

He added: “As Africans, we are known for song and dance and we are going to get everyone dancing over the duration of the event.” In addition, he urged participants to explore Gauteng, which is unique in many respects.

The Gauteng City Region offers various shopping, cuisine, leisure and other visitor experiences. But it also offers unparalleled authentic cultural experiences, especially in the various townships across the city.

“The historic township of Mamelodi offers a wide range of culture and heritage attractions, which include Stanza Bopape Community Centre, Solomon Mahlangu Square, Fabian Ribeiro House, Mamelodi Rondavels, and Eerste Fabriek,” said acting Gauteng Tourism ceo, Yoland Ruiters

Mamelodi, which means ‘the mother of melodies’ in English, is an important place for the South African music arena, particularly because of a strong jazz culture and history. The township is home to the late legendary Phillip Tabane and other jazz icons, including Vusi Mahlasela and Julian Bahula.

For nature and wildlife enthusiasts, the host city is home to the Dinokeng Game Reserve. The establishment is the largest of its kind in the world, with Big Five roaming within a residential reserve that is adjacent to an urbanised area.

City of Tshwane Mayor, Solly Msimanga, welcomed the assembled media and guests to the games. He expressed hope that the event would be successful, and exceed expectations. The Mayor also reaffirmed the call for the participants to explore the city.

Yoland said events of this sort were a key aspect of growing the numbers of visitors to Gauteng. “It is the hope of GTA that attendees at the event will be inspired to visit the region again.”

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