Songs That Can Change the World: South African Freedom Songs  

The next program in the series of Songs That Can Change the World will take place the weekend of April 27th-29th.  We will immerse in the history and music of the South African freedom movement, focusing primarily on the life and work of Nelson Mandela.  The details are below, along with trailers of the two films we will be showing for free.

It is a good time to look back at how South Africa overcame apartheid.  Our hopes are with new President Cyril Ramaphosa, in the lineage of Nelson Mandela, as he tries to overcome the corruption and loss of Mandela’s ideals in recent years.  We are also remembering the complex history of Winnie Mandela who has just died.
But it is the right moment to bring Mandela and the freedom movement to mind for more reasons than these.  We face challenges in our nation and world right now that seem overwhelming, and because of our political polarization they look impossible to solve.
The life of Mandela shows us a way that we could go, it gives us hope, and the infectious spirit of the music that he loved and sang and danced to can inspire us.  (The Thetford Chamber Singers have sung these songs in concert twice over the past twenty years.)
So please come to these events and bring friends and spread the word.  All events are free of charge and open to all.  Here are the specifics:
1. Friday April 27th 7:00-9:30 PM the film Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.  (See the YouTube of the film’s trailer below.)  The lead actors have been praised highly–Idris Elba has been called “a Mandela for all time.”  Naomie Harris gives an astounding, heart-wrenching performance as Winnie Mandela. The film itself does a better job than any of the documentaries of bringing alive the suffering and struggle, especially of Winnie Mandela.  Common Sense media advises that children who see it be 15 or older because of the violence.  You can read about it on Wikipedia at

2. Saturday April 28th 4:00 PM – 6:30 PM  We will pick up the history where the biography left off the night before, watching the popular Clint Eastwood film Invictus starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon.  It is rated PG-13 for minimal profanity.

3. Saturday April 28th 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM We will have supper together learn about the Freedom Songs of the anti-apartheid movement and sing some of those songs that are sung most today in American churches, including Siyahamba, Thuma Mina, We Shall Not Give Up the Fight, and Freedom Is Coming (Oh Freedom). These songs powered the anti-apartheid movement, and they inspire, empower and encourage those who sing them today.  Annemieke McLane will lead us.  (Email us at if you would like to provide some of the food.)

4. Sunday April 29th 8:50 AM  You are invited to join the choir rehearsing the South Africa freedom songs at 8:50 AM accompanied by master percussionist Steve Ferraris.  Steve has performed them with the Thetford Chamber Singers.  We invite anyone who knows and loves these songs to sing with us Sunday morning—please invite any you think would be interested.

5. Sunday April 29th 10:00 AM We will sing the songs in an inspiring, uplifting worship service that will support the songs with stories, scriptures and reflection and send us out to carry on the movement for oneness, justice and peace in our own time, our own place, our own way.

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