From Soweto to Edinburgh: crowd-funded film to track remarkable journey

By staff writers
December 19, 2013

The Edinburgh-based Just Festival has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise £25,000 in support of artists from Soweto.

The initiative comes a week after the moving ceremonies and celebrations surrounding the death of former South African president and global statesman Nelson Mandela.

‘Songs from Soweto: an a cappella journey’ is a 25-minute documentary charting the remarkable journey of five singers from one of South Africa's most famous townships to the renowned Edinburgh Fringe and world-wide fame.

Simply Soweto Encha, formerly known as Africa Entsha, share experiences of the post-apartheid generations of Soweto, where old shack misery meets new opportunities and prosperity.

Raised in struggling families impacted by racial division and troubled neighbourhoods, the a cappella singers have been challenged with poverty, unemployment, substance abuse and organised crime. Now, they want to tell us what it is like to live and survive in Soweto.

By addressing the living conditions in the post-apartheid South Africa, the film will draw parallels between other township cultures and issues youth across the world is challenged with.

Bringing a positive example of young men who despite hardships have strived to perform around the UK and European festivals, the film aims to change attitudes towards marginalised communities and those struggling with similar living conditions.

The film will also reflect on the great music talent that is an inherent element of the Soweto township. The township that survived its darkest days thanks to the power of sound and rhythm continues to be a beacon of hope and a cradle for great music productions.

Previously performing as Africa Entsha, Simply Soweto Encha, will be coming back for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2014.

"The group were a great success with the last two Festival editions. Their performances were well-received and enjoyed by local and international audiences," says Katherine Newbigging, Just Festival director.

"With this film project, we would like to tell real-life stories from the singers’ township and youth in post-apartheid Johannesburg", she adds.

Just Festival is supported by a range of educational, religious, governmental and cultural organisations. It runs each year in Edinburgh, combining performance and art with discussion and debate.

The movie will also feature preparations for their 2014 UK performances giving a rare opportunity to witness how the unmissable shows are created. The documentary will be shot in Soweto and produced by the end of March 2014 . It will premiere in May and will be screened along Simply Soweto Encha UK Tour between May and October 2014.

The project is offering great perks, from early snippets of the film and new music material from the a cappella group, to film credits to finally meeting the group members.

* To choose your rewards and learn more about the campaign follow the link here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/songs-from-soweto-an-a-cappella-journey

* Just Festival: http://www.justjust.org

* More on Just Festival from Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/justfestival


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