About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

22 July 2013


The Freedom Charter is quite an amazing document - and given the time it was draft, and the circumstances in which it was drafted, it certainly made for a very forward thinking goal in the struggle against apartheid. It is actually quite a short document, and fairly succinct in what the aims should be for not only political freedom, but also economic freedom.

As a celebration of 140 years of existence, UNISA commissioned, what it is described as a multimedia oratorio, celebrating the Freedom Charter. The work, Credo, is based on a poem by Brent Meersman, with orchestral composition by Bongani Ndodana-Breen and a multi-media projection piece by Andrew Peter Black. The work premiered on Thursday followed by public performances on Friday evening and Sunday afternoon.

It is quite an impressive piece of work . The full orchestral score, seemingly in 4 movements (but that wasn't too clear) starts of quite somber but ends with the expected pomp of hopefulness. The music doesn't overpower either the choir (the Gauteng Choristers) or the solo performances (Sibongible Khumalo, Monika Wassung and Otto Maidi), and there are some absolutely stunning pieces of photography that plays in the background of the performances. 

However, individually it all feels a bit muddled. The performance is certainly longer than that of the Freedom Charter - but there is neither criticism, nor praise, or even any real level of commentary on the charter itself. The charter off course has a lot of politically difficult points - such as nationalisation - and the delivery of the less difficult points (access to health care, security, education etc) post democracy makes it seem more like a hopeful target rather than a real one.

But for me, the sticky discussion point is why is this so intricately tied to Nelson Mandela - the show debuts on his birthday (Nelson Mandela Day) and is 67 minutes long. Yes, Madiba was an instrumental part of the drafting of the Freedom Charter - but does the focus of conducting a tribute to one specific individual not lessen the role of the others in the drafting of this document? Should this work not paid tribute to all the contributors - instead of singling out one?

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