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University of Cape Town choir Thuma Mina pays tribute to workers in Covid-19 front lines

Thuma Mina

With the coronavirus hitting its peak in the Western Cape and exacting its toll in other provinces as well, the University of Cape Town (UCT) Choir has paid tribute to the country’s essential workers at the front lines of the pandemic and those who have lost their lives.

Singing the lyrics of Thuma Mina, a traditional Zulu hymn, the heart-warming video by a virtual choir will deeply touch all health workers putting their lives on the line.
This video is dedicated to all those who raised their hands to say Thuma Mina (Send me) and courageously took up position in the front lines to fight against the Covid-19 virus, UCT Community members battling the Covid-19 virus and those who lost their lives or family,” said the YouTube caption.

It was conceptualised and produced by UCT’s video production unit in the Communication and Marketing Department. Not only does the video showcase the UCT Choir but essential workers on campus as well, such as cleaning staff and Campus Protection Services, with staff and final-year medical students in the Faculty of Health Sciences also featuring.


The choir had initially rehearsed their rendition of Thuma Mina for the installation of UCT’s chancellor, Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, in March, but the pandemic put paid to that.

Not letting all the good work go to waste, the choir’s conductor, Leon Starker, then approached CMD’s video production unit, headed by Roxanne Harris.

Choir members then recorded themselves singing Thuma Mina using their smartphones. Starker gathered the audio files and created the soundtrack for the music video. Choir members were then asked to film themselves while singing along to the backtrack Starker had produced.

“The students were so excited. By the time we proposed this project, we were all really missing making music together,” Starker told uct.ac.za.

“The final product and the visual experience it creates is simply heart-warming. Likening the words ‘send me’ to the incredible work being done and the burden carried by essential workers is truly special.”

Harris added an extra touch by honouring UCT’s front-line workers by demonstrating their hard work on camera. We decided to dedicate the video to all front-line workers. We want to say, ‘We see you; we are thinking of you; and we appreciate you’,” Harris said.

Choir chairperson Tariro Makanha, who is completing his MPhil in Development Studies, said being part of the project was a “breathtaking” experience.

“The choice of song made it all easier; it really resonates with our current situation and encourages us to help those in need where we can,” he said. We should never lose hope. There’s always help around the corner and (with) Thuma Mina”we’re saying, ‘Send us’.”

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Source: IOL