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Synergy is the ‘interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects’, (OED).
Durban High School has a synergetic approach to the celebration of cultural expressions in the end of year Café Concert. The traditional divisions between disciplines such as drama, dance and music melt away as the departments join forces to present a unified reflection on the year’s work.
Traditionally a farewell homage to the parting matrics, the concert is comprised of two halves: music, then drama and dance. To begin with the Mambazo Singers took centre stage and delivered warm renditions of some of their more famous numbers. The presence of outgoing Head Boy, Mvumeleni ‘Stash’ Mathenjwa, and incoming Pendelani ‘Pepsi’ Buthelezi in the group was both appropriate and poignant. This year the DHS Band performed their samba number ‘Mas Que Nada’ and dedicated the song to the 150th celebrations and the 2016 matrics. Whenever the Aca Brothers, comprised of five unaccompanied singers, take to the stage they inspire an appreciation for the complex art of simulating instruments while holding harmonies and buoyant melodies. Next up, Sam Sibisi, ably accompanied on guitar by Akhil Jamnadas, performed their musical version of Justin Bieber’s ‘Cold Water’. After every vocal performance of Sam’s I am reminded to give Bieber another listen. Performing an original song was the talented Mfundo ‘Muscleman’ Mkhize and his junior backing singer, Sibahle Ndlovu. Despite minor technical hitches to start, the song went off well for the budding poet. It was then time for teachers Mssrs Skevington and Liddell to take to the stage, and the undecided Heavyweight Title holders (as MC Casey Milledge dubbed them) entertained with a smorgasbord of songs affectionately drawn from years of listening to and playing music.
Perhaps the greatest gift a learner can give a teacher is to exceed expectations of them. The final performance of the first half by TT Tshabalala and Nqubeko Madondo brought the house down. The stage was lit and the band was most assuredly ‘on fire’. Their rendition of JMCA’s ‘Addiction part 2’ was electrifying and dizzying all at once. Having performed earlier in the year at DHS’s Music Through the School, Madondo had already been discovered as a highly talented drummer, but his performance this night was nothing short of a revelation. It was as if he had fused with drums and morphed into a volcanic creature of rhythm, so that the song overpowered the audience in waves of crescendos. It was wonderful to listen to the passion and vocal ability of TT, but it was a little sad to bid him farewell as he has been a pleasure to work with both as a musician and a gentleman.
MC Casey Milledge compered the evening with great confidence and comedic aplomb. His command of language and natural wit make him a formidable presence in any production. He will be sorely missed. The young Chris James cannot go unappreciated for his seemingly tireless commitment to technical concerns in the school, however, he is due high praise for his efforts in producing the excellent sound for the evening.
The first half was followed by four skits which explored the socio-political climate in South Africa. Special mention must be made of the talented Nkanyezi Hlongwa whose caricatures and physical comedy make for splendid entertainment.
We bid Farwell to Buhle Lujabe, Hilario Songo and Chumani Mbandla, Ndili Stamper, Clinton Sithole, Akbar Misigaro, Hlumelo Mekuto, Max Birch, Casey Milledge, Joshua Arnold and Thabiso Tshabalala.
J Stengel and G Sooriah
Heads of Music and Drama