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A Zulu choir, many of whose members have never before left the township where they have grown up, is going to perform at Bristol Zoo Gardens this Saturday.
The choir of 20 young people are travelling to Bristol from their homes in the Madadeni Township, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
The journey of more than 8,500 miles will be a huge adventure for the youngsters who are all aged between 10 and 15.
Their visit is part of Project Zulu, a charitable initiative run by the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) to support the development of educational facilities at six township schools in South Africa.
Every two years, it invites a group of singers – who also dance in traditional costume – to host workshops in local schools and perform at venues across the country.
The choir will be giving two 45-minute performances at the Zoo on the day of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding.
The choir, whose show includes Zulu gospel songs and dances, will be appearing on the Terrace Theatre stage and on the main lawn in the heart of the Zoo at 11am and 2pm.
They are visiting the Zoo as part of a trip to the UK to raise money to further develop educational facilities at their schools.
The money they raise during their stay will support the building of a science classroom at Siyawela Primary School and an IT classroom at Umcebowolwazi Primary school.
Students and staff volunteers from UWE Bristol will be visiting the schools in August this year to assist with these and additional development projects.
This will be the second time the choir has visited the Zoo. They were previously there in 2013 as part of a three week tour of Britain.
During their last visit the Project Zulu Choir raised enough funds to buy and install solar panels on the roof of Sithobelumthetho Primary School, enabling them to have their first ever constant and reliable supply of electricity.
Naomi Steeds, Project Zulu Coordinator, from the University of the West of England, said: “The choir are really looking forward to visiting Bristol Zoo and performing.
“Since 2013 we have built up a strong following in and around Bristol particularly with families thanks to the work we do with local primary and secondary schools.
“We have sold out at the Colston Hall and St Georges Hall. When they were booked to perform for the Bath International Music Festival in 2016 will filled the Bath Abbey and had the audience standing in the aisles and spilling out the doors!”
Paul Pritchard, head of marketing at Bristol Zoo gardens, said: “We are thrilled to be welcoming back the Project Zulu Choir.
“Everyone here loved their performances last time, the music was great and their dances were amazing.”
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