Grootfontein Choir won the 2017 National Agricultural Colleges Choral Competition!!

Mr Tino Herselman (Director GADI), Beauty Mokgwamme (GADI Choir coordinator), Mr. Landelo “Ace” Singilizwe (Grootfontein Choir Conductor), Mr Themba Cebani (Principal GADI)

They are the champions in South Africa and Grootfontein College of Agriculture are so SO proud of this choir who won the Overall Cup! The competition took place at Grootfontein Agricultural Development Institute (GADI) from the 30/06/2017 to 01/07/2017.  7 of the Agricultural Training Institutes took part in the competition. They came from all over South Africa to compete in this very special Competition. The competition was really tough between the 7 choir from Tompi Seleka ATI (Limpopo), Cedara ATI (KwaZulu-Natal), Taung ATI and Potchefstroom ATI (North West), Fort Cox ATI, Grootfontein ATI and Tsolo ATI (Eastern Cape). 

 The choirs competed on six categories of songs which were a Western piece, Afrikaans piece, Venecular piece, HIV & Aids song,  Own choice song and Culture song. Grootfontein choir won three categories and became second runners on two occasions and the third in one. This simple means in each category Grootfontein won something. They then most importantly won the Overall Cup and therefore are the CHAMPIONS!!

 The National Agricultural Colleges Choral Committee (NACC) is the committee responsible for organizing choral music competition amongst 11 colleges of agriculture or Agricultural Training Institutes in South Africa. This competition died off in 2012 due to amongst other things lack of support in terms of participation by some colleges, financially and otherwise. In 2015 the competition, hosted by Taung was re-started with three colleges (Taung, Grootfontein and Tompi) participating. In 2016 Tompi Seleka College of Agriculture hosted the competition where Grootfontein,  Cedara and Tompi Seleka Colleges participated.  

 The two nationally recognised Adjudicators were Mr. Bulelani Nonxuba and Malungisa Majiza from East London. They are seasoned adjudicators and choir conductors of well-known choirs in the country. They have impeccable credentials in choral music to take the competition to greater heights.

 The Pianist was Mr. Vuyolwethu Benjamin Maseti from Cape Town. His capacity and experience in his work was proven when he had to prepare for all songs that will need to be led by the piano in a space of less than a minute and everyone was happy with his performance.  

 Grootfontein Choir Conductor was Mr. Landelo “Ace” Singilizwe. He sacrificed his time with family to ensure that the choir do have successful camps in preparation for the competition. He took his work in an unbelievable professional way which rubbed through the whole. If it was not for him Grootfontein would not have collected the number of trophies as it did in this competition.

 The two days programme was directed by Mr Bulelani Koyo who is a radio Umhlobo Wenene presenter of choral music program. The feedback from all those who attended is overwhelming. He is so knowledgeable about choral music. He did not only direct the programme but ensured that the competition is known nationally before and after it took place.

The Guest speaker of the event was Mr. Sivelile Nompozolo who is a Director: Sectoral Colleges in the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in Pretoria. His speech was so relevant that more students feel more confident that it is good to have an understanding of music especially classic music because in some animal husbandry enterprises productivity is improved by playing such music to your animals.

 The local organizing committee which was composed of staff and students did a good work in ensuring that the day was as successful as it was. Everyone was focused on the job at hand. Leslie, Albertina, Niel, Thabo, Piet and Beauty are some of the people who were at the forefront in organizing everything for the event. They could not have done it if it was not for the support of all employees working on those support sections though. Students have shown maturity and determination to succeed for the name and prestige of the institution.

 When this event was brought to the principal’s attention in February, he indicated that it cannot be hosted due to not having funds set aside for it. After serious discussions with Beauty Mokgwamme and Leslie Mukwevho an agreement was reached that it must go on. The first meeting was held on the 23 May2017 and everyone’s commitment was emphasized as the determinant of the event’s success.

Grootfontein Principal Mr Themba Cebani

The event was escalating from being a choir event into being a college event and the principal, Themba Cebani became the chairperson of the organising committee. The second issue was on publicity of the event which would have a rippling effect to Grootfontein as an education and training institution as well as the agricultural college’s choral completion itself. Nationally, people who listens to that radio station now knows that there is a Grootfontein Agricultural College in Middelburg in the Eastern Cape and those passionate about choral music knows that colleges of agriculture do have this competition.

 The programme director’s producer Mr. Siyabonga Hlekani, brought an exciting dimension through his accompaniment during informal singing. He is a producer of note as he has produced for award-winning artists such as Nathi Mankayi, Vusi Nova, Jabu Hlongwane, Veliswa Skeyi and Lusanda Mcinga.

 For proper feedback and quality improvement purposes we proposed to colleges to have a video recorder so that they can report accordingly to the principals. The video will also enable colleges to improve the quality of their offering. The knowledge shared by adjudicators is so valuable to go unrecorded. 

 The choir coordinator – Beauty Mokgwamme became the chairperson of the operations committee which dealt with day-to-day preparatory work. They did an excellent work. She had to sacrifice her family for the choir and the whole competition. Such passion is equal to none. She really demonstrated her love for Grootfontein.

 The support from the Middelburg and surrounding community and parents of the students is much appreciated. It was proven that there is no Grootfontein without the support of the immediate community.