Fifteen members of the Africa University choir closed out the university’s 20th anniversary celebration during the evening plenary April 29 at General Conference 2012 with “The Dream is Alive,” the university’s anthem.
Written by Patrick Matsikenyiri for the university in Old Mutare, Zimbabwe, the anthem was sung in English, although the choir also sings in 18 different languages, including English, French, Portuguese, Swahili (East and Central Africa); Shona and Ndebele (Zimbabwe); Zulu (South Africa); and Lingala (Democratic Republic of Congo).
Before Sunday evening’s gathering began, the chamber group of the choir, directed by Tendekai Kuture, performed songs in several languages as delegates and visitors clustered around them taking photos and videos. Kuture, a Zimbabwean and distinguished choral conductor, is head of the music department in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Africa University.
The choir performed earlier at the Africana dinner sponsored by Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR). The choir’s chamber ensemble is also performing a series of concerts at Tampa area churches.
At the BMCR dinner, Jim Salley, Africa University’s vice chancellor for Institutional Development, said the apportioned fund that supports Africa University costs 29 cents annually for each United Methodist. “Over 20 years, I think we have received a good return on our investment,” Salley said.
The choir features students from various academic disciplines and from seven African countries, all with a passion for music ministry. Its repertoire is drawn from the African praise and worship tradition.
The choir will perform during Monday’s Higher Education Night, organized by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, at Ballrooms B, C and D of the Tampa Convention Center. The event will feature three stages with continuous entertainment provided by students from some of the 120 United Methodist-related schools, colleges and universities and 520 United Methodist campus ministries.