The internationally acclaimed Memeza African Choir presents a powerful fusion of South African music, spirit and culture. The intensely energetic and moving performance combines original local and international compositions to create a unique musical experience that leaves audiences emotionally charged. This spirited ensemble directed and produced by EMMY AWARD winner Jimmy Mulovhedzi (who is also Company manager of the multi-GRAMMY AWARD winners, the Soweto Gospel Choir) features spectacular vocals, jaw-dropping dance performances with traditional drums and a band in an unparalleled blend of styles and sound.
Memeza was born out of the world icon Nelson Mandela’s dream of spreading the message of love, peace and tolerance around the world. The choir uses music and dance to voice out challenges faced by communities in Africa hence their numerous performances in Canada, China, Scotland and Austria and local corporate events. They originate from Soweto, South Africa’s largest black community alive with a vibrant energy and rich in culture and political history. Designed to segregate the black community during the apartheid era, the resilience and spirit of the people triumphed and brought them together, making Soweto the home of South African freedom music. Memeza not only gives members the opportunity to showcase their talents, but offers the potential to provide sustainable income in a community where the unemployment rate is staggering.
Marika Hattingh Hansen started singing before she could talk, and has had a life-long passion for the voice and bringing others joy through music. At the age of 13 she auditioned for the South African performance group “ Dynamis” and was chosen as lead singer which resulted in a year of travelling and performing at many different events, and to the recording of a CD. Other lead roles followed in plays and local musicals including “ Annie” , “ The Age of Aquarius” , “ Hollywood” , “ The Awards” and “ Mama Tembu’ s wedding” . After finishing school she moved to London to study on the degree course at The Academy of Contemporary Music where she graduated after two years of intense study. During her time at the Academy she attended master-classes with David and Carrie Grant (probably the best know vocal coaches in the UK because of their involvement with Fame Acadamy, and a list of clients that includes Take That, The Spice Girls, Gwyneth Paltrow, Charlotte Church, The Saturdays, Modestep, Lemar, and Will Young). She also had the privilege of working and recording with the successful EMI producer/songwriter Aron Friedman, also originally from South Africa. Studying at the Academy brought her into contact with the renowned vocal coach and choir director Mark De-Lisser, who invited her to join a course for advanced singing and songwriting, culminating in a showcase performance at The 10 Rooms in London. During this time she also had the opportunity to work with Michelle Escoffery, a celebrated songwriter and winner of a Brit award (and a coveted Ivor Novello award for "most performed work") for her number one song “ Just a Little” which she penned for Liberty X. Marika's connection with Mark De-Lisser also led to her being the first South African singer to perform the South African National Anthem at Twickenham Rugby stadium during a Tri Nation match between England and South Africa. The success of this performance resulted in the offer of a recording contract from Johan van der Colff, CEO of Mastermax Productions, who recently won a South African Music Award (SAMA) for best engineer on the album Loliwe by Zahara. A series of performances followed, including singing at the South African Women’ s Day Fundraiser alongside South African actress Lindie van Eeden, best known for her role as Karin Schoeman Edwards on the M-Net soap opera Egoli: Place of Gold. In South African, Marika has been vocal trainer to 5 students who each won their categories in the South African version of X-Factor. Other students, including the band Siklus, went on to enter Patricia Lewis's “ Reach for the Stars” competition where all ended as Top 10 finalists. Elsabè Rademeyer has gone on to forge a successful musical career, and Crystal Chamberlain, (then Marika's youngest student at just 8 years of age) was offered a contract from an American production company to record Marika's song Schools Out.