Singing the splendours of Southern African Conservation




The community choir of the Matsamo/Mantenga cultural parks between Swaziland and South Africa will be taking the newly established transfrontier conservation brand "Boundless Southern Africa" on a six week tour of Europe. This forms part of an initiative to promote cultural activities and tourismrelated products within transfrontier conservation areas.

The Matsamo / Mantenga Community Choir will perform at a large number of cultural events that will be attended by hundreds and thousands of people throughout Europe during June and July. An audio brand, in the form of the song "Boundless Southern Africa" was established in partnership with the Matsamo/Mantenga Community Choirs and will form part of the choir's repertoire while performing in Europe.

The 33-member group comprises 14 male and 20 female artists. The Boundless Southern Africa brand was established as an outcome of the Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA) 2010 Strategy which was endorsed by the nine ministers responsible for tourism in Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe, in 2005.

The strategy focuses on promoting transfrontier conservation areas straddling the borders of these nine countries, as prime tourist attractions. The strategy resides under one of the six legacy programmes for the 2010 Soccer World Cup whereby the soccer event is meant to have a lasting legacy on Africa. This initiative aims to also promote the rich cultural heritage available in transfrontier conservation areas such as the Nama and San communities in Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park and the story of the golden rhino in Limpopo Shashe Transfrontier Park.

The Matsamo / Mantenga cultural parks between South Africa and Swaziland and within the Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation Area, are examples of cross-border community cultural attractions. The Matsamo / Mantenga cultural parks' community owned projects, receive on average 500 tourists per day and provide permanent jobs to 150 people. The tour is sponsored by Jan Lombard, stakeholder in Matsamo/Mantenga and Haley Sharpe Southern Africa.

The choir will be showcasing their unique talents during the international tour at the World Folklore Olympiad of Brunssum in the Netherlands which is held every four years: * the 50th edition of the world festival of Schoten in Belgium which is a very special occasion; and * the prestigious international festival Op Roakeldais in Warffum, Netherlands The three festivals will see participants from more than 50 countries perform to several hundreds of thousands of spectators. The choir is on tour from June 23 to July 20.



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