Tag Archives: singing

#260 ~ Ithemba Projects: Day 25

As i’m coming to the end of my time here at Ithemba, I figured it’s about time I start sharing with you some more of the my memories. Below are photos of the Jabulani Kids Club March through Sweetwaters. We walked throughout the community (up and down very steep hills), to raise the profile of JKC and to invite the local children. A challenging but exhilarating experience, we sang songs from Shosholoza to well-known isiZulu worship songs. With my guitar in tow, I was a bit like the Pied Piper of Sweetwaters. I hope you enjoy an excerpt of these images, and that they translate the joy, the music and the excitement of the day.

Prayer for Day 25: That JKC and Khula Club will continue to grow and be a light and source of inspiration in the community of Sweetwaters.

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#253 ~ Ithemba Projects: Day 19

We marched through the Township

Singing out loud and clear

A song of Freedom,

to be heard from every corrugated rooftop

Behind every avo tree

Deep within the mud packed walls

The shout of freedom

We marched through the township

And sang it loud and clear

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#247 ~ Ithemba Projects: Day 14

Edendale is the township to Martizburg. Sprawling with settlements and (finally) a large shopping complex, it is a community which, due to its large black community, under Apartheid was feared by the whites. Yet is also the home of, what may be seen, as the beginning of the Mandela story. Edendale Evangelical Church meets in the assembly hall of a local school – the last place Mandela publicly spoke before being arrested and taken to Robben Island for his anti apartheid activism. It isn’t anything special. No different to the schools in Sweetwaters. If one didn’t notice the statue outside, it would be no different to any other township building.  Yet the raw throb of voices in harmonious unity which penetrate through the brick walls sings of a joyful celebration.

Music is an intrinsic part of Zulu culture, and it is more rewarding than surprising when rich four-part harmonies meet together in a fantastic web of choral singing. However, Edendale Evangelical Church isn’t too dissimilar to my experience of Nigerian churches. The keyboardist tends to love drum rolls a bit too much, the Mother’s pick the key and wait for the keyboardist to catch up by the chorus, timing may not always be their strong point, yet, the  passion is just perfect. It is raw, voices are ripping, swooping and swirling in the color of jubilant praise, and most importantly, there is a freedom.

Churches in the UK are either stifled by choral music, perfect timings,  finite endings or silence. The choir, or the band are the leaders, and spontaneous songs are battened down just in case we don’t have the words printed on acetate or ready to go onto the screen.  Yet in Edendale Evangelical, even when the pastor stood up ready to address the congregation, if one old mama in the back felt like a reprise of verse 3, plus the chorus and of course the bridge, then that is where the church went.

Pronouncing the words was difficult, but the spirit of worship was not hard to catch. There was a freedom in the place which transcended ‘religion’, running to schedule or being orderly. Sure, arriving at 9am and leaving at 12.30-1pm has its drawbacks, but the ability to come together in fellowship, allow people to express themselves, cry, rage, give thanks – that’s a beautiful thing. Edendale Evangelical Church is rooted on the foundations of South Africa’s fight for political freedom, and man’s desire for spiritual.


Prayer for Day 14: For a spirit of freedom to be among places of worship the world over, especially in the UK.

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#99 ~ An Ossified Cage

I once asked a friend if I was a passionate person. He paused on the phone, so I re-phrased my question. He replied very softly. “Yes. Yes you’re passionate, but not fiery-passionate.” I was mildly disappointed. I wanted to be a burning light of passion consuming everything, setting other people on fire. “You’re more like the water. Slow, steady, sometimes getting whipped up, but there is a depth to your passion, a longevity, an intense profundity and power.”

There are very few things I like doing on request. I will still do them, but begrudgingly, laconically, with varying degrees of irritation. There are a variety of things, sometimes the same things I get requested to do, which I love when I’ve made the initial choice. When I perform those tasks, participate in those actions, I give my everything. When I sing, when I really sing and worship, it doesn’t come from my vocal chords, but deep, deep inside the tissues of my heart. It comes from a quietly raging place within me, and it grows taking on a life and form of its own that cannot be contained. In those pure moments, my anxiety about other people’s thoughts and opinions are buffeted out of the window of my consciousness. My voice rips out loud, long, strong, covered in a myriad of emotions, thoughts, a polyphonic expression of who I am.

My rib cage becomes like a prison, which my fleshy heart pours itself against, tears at, rails and tries to snap, to break free and leap out into the sound waves that surround me in a harmonic aura of light. The cage grows tight, my lungs are squeezing, straining to push everything, push my heart out of my mouth and into the ether, the other world.

I know at times it is vital to be conscious of other people, how your presence, your sound, your being affects them. I spend so much of my life reinforcing that internal prison, to make myself acceptable, to mould into a shape that benefits and is conducive to other people. I shut down, silence, redirect, or just whisper.

But sometimes, I just wish, there was that place to be completely free, but not alone. To let rip and pour out my heart in song, in shouts, in speaking loud, and for a moment, surrounded by people I love, people who are also in that place of worship, to crush that ossified prison cell and step out, ringing loud and clear.

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#53~ Fading Purity


So soft, like a whisper coaxing a roller coast to dance in the

Light, filled with the ephemeral weight of a breath

So sweet.

Pure. Clean, patiently drawing out each note

with eyes lightly shut, lashes hovering, daring to exhale


Integrity and authenticity in the simplicity.

A releasing breath of clean purity –

and it brings a hesitant joy.

Quietly drawing it out, softly coaxing it to dance

before it glides, once more.



Written whilst listening to this beautiful song below. Hope it touches you as much as it did me, and you support the artist. 

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#9 ~ By The Rivers

So let the words of our mouths 

And the meditation of our hearts

Be acceptable in the sight

Of the lamb

It was a quiet mellifluous voice that seeped between half-parted lips. All around was the lively throbbing of speaking voices, the clattering of knives and forks, the hushed pockets of prickly silence. At times an excited laugh, mirroring a shy horses braying, swelled like an infantile eddy before subsiding. Still, through it all, this soft, warm-bodied sound seeped like an ostinato, coating, highlighting and embellishing the talkative mood.

By the rivers of Babylon

Where we sat down…

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#4 ~ Wake Up With Singing!

My mum always said she could tell my mood depending on whether or not I was singing. By the time I normally roll out of bed – natural body-clock being 11am – a song is generally churning away at my vocal chords, and with the power combination of ricocheting bathroom tiles and an enclosed echoey shower, it tends to sound pretty good. Last night I decided to open up a little Paperblank book I was given many moons (5 years) ago which I converted an aeon (3 years) ago into a prayer diary. It was with the intention of learning bible verses, but  tended to be used very sporadically. However, after scribbling some thoughts down, I started reading over the sparse entries that lined the pages in a range of inks. A deep peace settled over me. I think it stemmed from the recognition of faithfulness. I saw a concept that is generally preached (and very rarely believed) start to manifest on its pages.

When the sleep cleared from my eyes and Bernhoft’s C’mon Talk finally subsided (only to be replaced by Houghton’s Trading My Sorrows, a fair exchange) the fading images that clouded my befuddled mind were ones of joy. A deep joy at the slightly random idea that my best friend would discover a deep love.

It took me to the bathroom with strained vocal chords in a very muggy shower at the crack of dawn (8am) and set my day alight. However dark the night is joy comes in the morning, and it comes even faster when you wake up with singing.

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