With 11 official national languages and a healthy obsession with sport and music, South Africa’s artist community is as diverse and colorful as the Rainbow Nation itself.
The country that gave us Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Johnny Clegg, Lucky Dube, Freshlyground and 2019 BET Award winner Sho Madjozi has no shortage of talent just waiting to be unearthed and shared with the rest of the planet.
That was made crystal clear during Tuesday night’s America’s Got Talent, when The Ndlovu Youth Choir hit the stage.
Hailing from Limpopo and led by artistic director Ralf Schmitt, the choir provides a creative outlet for young talent from difficult backgrounds. “Whey they join us, many of our kids have the weight of the world on their shoulders, and to them their problems feel insurmountable,” Schmitt said in a taped segment.
Last year, they enjoyed international attention with a cover of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You,” which has clocked up millions of hits on YouTube. The choir is currently celebrating its 10th anniversary. And they partied on the AGT stage with an original work, “My African Dream.”
The piece expresses “hopes and dreams,” Schmitt explained, “and our dream is to let children around the world know, just because you’re born into poverty it doesn’t mean you are poverty.”
It was a dream performance, culminating in a standing ovation and admiration from the four judges who spoke warmly of the joy, magic and beauty of what they just witnessed.
“We’ve always been waiting for a choir like this, something we’ve never heard before,” Simon Cowell remarked. “And your energy was literally bouncing off me right there. It was a great audition and you I’m going to remember.”
Cowell and his fellow judges all gave the choir a “yes”. Watch below.