Nelson Mandela University Choir Wows

After a memorable “From Africa to Asia” farewell concert held on 16 May 2017, the Nelson Mandela University Choir attended the 2017 “Heart of Chorus” Shanghai International Choral Festival, in Shanghai and Nanjing.

Being one of five choirs from across the world to receive an invitation, and serving as the official representatives of Africa, is of no surprise. Established on the eve of the South African democracy, 1994, the Nelson Mandela University Choir was not only South Africa’s first multicultural university choir. It has also managed to maintain a unique reputation for its innovation and excellence in the presentation of both Western and African music for over twenty-two years.

Since its inception, the choir has served as a beacon of hope, change and reconciliation across the world through their music and dance, imparting an important and powerful message for a non-racial society.

As a result of this, the Nelson Mandela University Choir has grown to become both a national and international treasure, by participating in over eleven international tours and making history at the 2009 International Choral Competition in Spittal-an-der-Drau, Austria where they received the first standing ovation in the competitions history.

Other achievements include representing the African continent at various global events. The recent invitation to perform at the Shanghai International Choral Festival constitutes the choirs seventh invitation to an international festival in the last ten years, and their fourth invitation to China.

The festival and China tour took place from 18 to 30 May 2017, where they performed amongst choirs from Germany, the Philippines, Russia, Thailand, as well as various other prestigious choirs from across China.

Despite much of the funds being provided by the Shanghai International Festival, the choir’s ability to participate in the tour remained frustrated by a lack of funding, due to it no longer being financially supported by the institution. Due to this, prior to their departure, the choir undertook a donation campaign to help alleviate the burden upon their members.

HUMANS NEED NOT APPLY

Before there was automation, humans used to have to hunt to survive. But, humans are lazy, so we started developing machines to do jobs for us. As time progressed and we evolved, our job-doing machines evolved with us.

Jobs are now being taken over by machines much faster than they were in the past, but will innovation save us again? While new information age industries are booming, they are creating fewer and fewer new jobs.

A massive company in 1979 employed more than 800 000 workers and made about 11 billion – in 2012, Google made 14 billion while employing only 58 000 people.

Human progress is based in the division of labour. As we advanced, jobs became more and more specialized. Machines were created to do narrowly defined and predictable tasks, so humans were considered safe in some jobs that were more complicated.

However, if one looks at complex jobs hard enough, they turn into a bunch of narrowly defined and predictable tasks one after another. Because of that, there will be no further room for specialization.

A key example of this is Baxter – Baxter has his own sight and can learn what someone wants him to do. Baxter is trained by demonstration using existing workers, cutting on time and costs by not having to be programmed for different jobs. Baxter is seen as a general-purpose robot and he costs less than the annual salary of a human worker.

This all leads to machines taking over more and more jobs, and humans being able to find fewer and fewer jobs. Our economies are based on the premise that people consume, but if fewer and fewer people have decent work, who will be doing all the consuming?