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MBABANE – This year seems to be a different one for the choral music fraternity in the country.

Only eight Eswatini choirs confirmed their participation at the renowned competitions after it was revealed that the Eswatini region had been part of the omitted regions from this year’s Old Mutual National Choir Festival.

This comes after it was revealed that Eswatini choirs are to compete in South Africa because of the restructuring by Old Mutual in partnership with the Premier National Choir Festival.

Local choirs who afforded to register for this year’s competitions which are in South Africa are His Majesty’s Correctional Services Choir, Royal Eswatini Police Choir, Manzini Choir and Mbabane Methodist Church Choir for the large section and Pure Voices, Giant Clothing, FTM, Swazi Spa Choir and Sishayingoma for standard section.

The country has 15 registered choirs and the other six were not able to register due to financial constraints as it takes a minimum of E50 000 to take a choir to South African competitions.
Eswatini choirs will be compete on October 21 in Kwa-Zulu Natal for those who registered in that region and October 27 and 28 in Gauteng for those who registered there.

Eswatini National Choral Music Association Chairman Sihle Gumbi confirmed that only nine Eswatini choirs are set to compete in South Africa as competing regions have been cut into half.
“Mbabane Methodist Church Choir and Sishayingoma are the only choirs which will be performing in Gauteng as the rest of the choirs opted to compete in Kwa-Zulu Natal,” said Gumbi.

The surviving regions from the reduction of regions which compete during the Old Mutual NCF are Western Cape, Easter Cape, Free State, Kwa-Zulu Natal and Gauteng. Gauteng has incorporated North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.
Gumbi advised choirs to prepare themselves so that a mark is made in South Africa.
“We wish to make the sponsor feel that there is an urgent need to bring back the competition to Eswatini.
“Also, we also plead with the nation to rally behind the choirs in terms of sponsoring them as these choirs will not only be representing themselves but the nation,” said Gumbi.
The competitions were at the Eastern Cape in South Africa.
“I urge local choirs to score higher marks than those that were scored at Easter Cape this weekend,” said Gumbi.

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