Stellar array of iconic artists to mark World Refugee Day 2019

Author: JT Comms
Date: 5 Jun 2019

June 4th 2019: A stellar array of iconic South African artists is giving voice to the global refugee crisis with an inaugural concert for refugees to be held at Johannesburg’s Linder Auditorium on June 21st.


Already confirmed for this unmissable event are Pops Mohamed, Sibongile Khumalo, Gcina Mhlophe and Yvonne Chaka Chaka, with the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra (JPO) and Buskaid adding to the heavyweight line-up. The music programme of jazz, Afro-pop and light classical music will be accompanied by a compelling photography exhibition and a video presentation that movingly captures the stories of refugees, with a particular focus on women and children.


The concert is being held to mark the United Nations’ World Refugee Day on June 20th which each year commemorates the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees. This year, World Refugee Day also marks a key moment for the public to show support for families forced to flee – and the upcoming concert at the Linder Auditorium provides an excellent opportunity for South Africans to stand with refugees. All profits from the event will go directly to to providing service and support to refugees and other forcibly displaced people in South Africa.


“We are honoured to have such incredible musicians taking part in the concert - and are calling on South Africans to enjoy a very special evening of music that’s devoted to one of the most urgent crises facing the world today,” says Ayhan Cetin, Executive Director of the Turquoise Harmony Institute (THI).


THI is spearheading A Concert for Refugees, working with partner institutions SAMRO, Universal Rights Association (URA), Horizon Education Trust (HET), Time to Care SA, South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), BUSKAID, Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF), Music In Africa (MIA) and Wits University.


“We are gratified that so many organisations and artists have answered the call to highlight the plight of refugees this World Refugee Day,” adds Cetin. “This is chance for the public to show that they stand with refugees – globally and here in South Africa.”


A recent report published by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) revealed that an unprecedented 68.5 million people around the world have been forced from their homes. Among these are nearly 25.4 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18. There is also an estimated 10 million stateless people who have been denied a nationality and access to basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement. Nearly one  person is forcibly displaced every two seconds as a result of conflict or persecution.


South Africa itself has more than a million asylum seekers and is home to the highest number of unresolved asylum cases in the world. Refugees in the country face issues of subsistence, shelter, protection against crime and eviction, and the ongoing threat of xenophobia.


Since its inception in 2006, THI has used the culture of Ubuntu to serve the people of South Africa and the world, propelled by a belief that the future of humanity must be built on a culture of coexistence, dialogue and tolerance. The organisation is guided by a vision of enhancing and developing social capital – through building personal relationships and networks in order to achieve mutual understanding. Among its multifaceted activities are The International Festival of Language & Culture and Dialogue & Friendship Dinners, as well as conferences, seminars and art and music-led initiatives.


“We assure music lovers of an extraordinary experience that will remain in their memories for many years to come as well as a deeper understanding of the situation and difficulties suffered by refugees,” concludes Cetin.


A Concert for Refugees 2019 will be South Africa’s first concert for refugees.


To be part of this night of music and compassion, you can purchase your tickets at Webtickets or Shoprite / Checkers outlets for R200. For the Concert for Refugees which takes place at Linder Auditorium – Wits University on Friday 21 June 2019 at 18h30.


Bookings : www.webtickets.co.za

Twitter:  @ARefugeeConcert

Facebook: @ARefugeeConcert

Instagram: @RefugeeConcert


WEBSITE: www.refugeeconcert.co.za


For more information contact Ayhan Cetin at Turquoise Harmony Institute, Director, on 011 447 8706, or info@turquoise.org.za


For media queries, interview requests and access to high res pics please contact JT Communication Solutions on (011) 788 7632, or media@jtcomms.co.za


Issued by JT Communication Solutions on behalf of Turquoise Harmony Institute (THI) – www. turquoise.org.za


Notes to Editor:


About the Artists


Dr Sibongile Khumalo


Sibongile Khumalo is the most celebrated member of a musical dynasty. She has extraordinary vocal power and a deep passion for making music and is an award-winning performer who has been lauded as one of the great singing talents of her time. Sibongile has also inspired the creation of new music by South African composers, both in the classical and jazz genres.


Sibongile has music degrees from the University of Zululand and Wits University, and an Honorary Licentiate in Music from the University of South Africa. She earned a Post-Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management from Wits Business School and has been conferred with honorary doctorates, including from Rhodes University (D. Mus-Honoris Causa,) the University of Zululand (D. Phil-Honoris Causa), and the University of South Africa (D. Musicology-Honoris Causa). A Fellow of the Africa Leadership Initiative (ALI), an Africa-wide collective of leaders interested in developing a cohort of values-based leadership, Sibongile has performed at numerous prestigious venues abroad, and has appeared at every major theatre and jazz festival in South Africa.


Pops Mohamed


Pops Mohamed has created 37 albums and has recorded in South Africa, Germany, Copenhagen, Vietnam, Belgium, New York, Oslo, Finland, Ireland, Zanzibar (with Zena Edwards), Namibia, Nepal and London. One of a handful of South African musicians who can play the kora, a measure of Pops’ extraordinary impact is that, after performing for Quincy Jones at a function, Quincy and Shabaaz (Malcolm X's daughter) invited Pops to the US. Among the accolades received by this unique artist are two South African Music Awards -   a Best Traditional Jazz Performance SAMA for ‘Ancestral Healing' and a second award with Bruce Cassidy for their album ‘Timeless’ which won the Best Instrumental Performance SAMA.


Yvonne Chaka Chaka


Yvonne’s inimitable and distinctive alto voice is as warm as she is personable and gracious to her audiences. Yvonne states emphatically, “I love performing for my audiences.” Her music awards include SAMAs, KORA, OKTV, Autumn Harvest, and a host of others that have recognised her musical excellence. Yvonne’s personal messages are woven throughout every song she’s written. With musical beats that span Afro-traditional to a world sound, the power of her music equals the power of this iconic artist’s clear social and spiritual advice to her audience.


Dr Gcina Mhlophe


Nokugcina Elsie Mhlophe was born in 1959 and is well-known for her roles as a freedom fighter, activist, actress, storyteller, poet, playwright, director and author. Storytelling is famously a deeply traditional activity in Africa, and Gcina does exceptionally well. She is one of the few women storytellers in a country largely dominated by males. Gcina does her most important work through charismatic performances and works to preserve storytelling as a means to keep history alive as well as encourage South African children to read. Gcina delivers her stories in four of South Africa’s languages, English, Afrikaans, Zulu and Xhosa, which makes it possible for South Africa’s people to receive her stories in a language that can be understood by a diverse majority.




The Buskaid Soweto String Project was established by Rosemary Nalden in January 1997 in response to requests from the local Diepkloof community. Initially the fledgling project consisted of fifteen members of the original Diepkloof Project and a few new beginners. Since then it has grown exponentially, and currently comprises approximately 115 students, all of whom are drawn from the less privileged local community.


The Buskaid Music School has produced a string ensemble with a formidable reputation for high standards of performance and a sophisticated grasp of musical style. As a result, it has become widely sought-after for a variety of functions and events, many of which are of an extremely prestigious nature. These include appearances with a number of international artists such as Sir John, Eliot Gardiner, Steven Isserlis, Bernarda Fink, Melvyn Tan and Sir Karl Jenkins as well as several performances in the presence of former President Nelson Mandela and President Thabo Mbeki, as well as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, amongst others.


Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra (JPO)


The Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra (JPO) was formed in May 2000 by a group of committed and resilient musicians following the demise of the National Symphony Orchestra. It has continued to consistently perform regular series of Symphony Seasons, attracting the best international and local soloists and conductors, as well as being the orchestra of choice for State functions in Gauteng.

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