The South African Road Trip’s ‘Good Hope’ heads to London for an exuberant and entertaining musical experience, celebrating traditional South African culture. 

Credit: Roeltje van de Sande Bakhuysen.

The Good Hope ensemble is led by eight men of the Khayelitsha United Mambazo Choir and four renowned female Xhosa singers. They are accompanied by two imposing South-African musicians. The performers who hail from the Langa, Nyanga, Khayelitsha townships around Cape Town, arrive in London, for a high-spirited evening that is sure to get the audience dancing along. 

Directed and produced by Albert Klein Kranenburg and Inges Bos, this musical experience showcases Xhosa songs, dance, and music. The night is an uplifting and joyous blend of performances, celebrating South African tradition. The happiness shone through their voices, and you could feel the joy surrounding the theatre. 

I was fascinated by the acapella vocals, also known as isicathamiya. The songs ranged from cheerful, energetic numbers, with enthusiastic routines to match. To sensitive, poignant performances, where the cast displayed the most beautiful harmonies in their choir-like melodies. I was impressed by the unique talent among the performers and the inclusivity, with the ensemble ranging in age and body types. The cast changed from bright modern clothing into traditional South African attire, with their final outfits in vibrant African prints and geometric patterns.  

The set design was simple, with the band and instruments onstage and two screens projecting video footage throughout the show. In between the performances, pre-recorded interviews of the ensemble were played on the screens. Through this digital feature by Stefan Hunter, we discover more about the choir; their everyday lives, their hopes, and dreams and of course, their love for music! 

We hear heartfelt personal stories and learn the meaning behind words. My favourite song was ‘Uthando Impelile’ which translates to ‘love’. During the performance, I was mesmerised by the precision and rhythm of percussionist, Mkokweli Moses Masala, in their breath-taking Marimba solo. I also adored the accompanying footage in the background, highlighting the smiling faces of South African people. 

Credit: Roeltje van de Sande Bakhuysen.

The show not only provided constant entertainment but sought to teach the audience about the history and culture of South Africa through song and dance. We learn about the ‘beauty of the Xhosa language’ in a song with the four Xhosa women incorporating unique vocal clicks. Lungiswa Theodora Plaatjies shared a heart-warming story about her passion for music and her ‘soulmate’ instrument. The men also shared the history of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, citing them as an inspiration for their own choir. 

The night ended on a high as we were treated to one final passionate performance. You could tell the ensemble were having the most fun onstage as they shared their culture with us. The audience were encouraged to wave their hands and clap along to the African drums and I felt fully immersed in this South African experience.

With stunning attire, rhythmic moves, and the most amazing vocals, the South African Road Trip is a musical journey you won’t want to miss! 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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