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a-south-african-quartet-on-arrival-to-astana-and-reasons-for-their-popularity-here

A SOUTH AFRICAN QUARTET ON ARRIVAL TO ASTANA AND REASONS FOR THEIR POPULARITY HERE
82

11.01.2018

A SOUTH AFRICAN QUARTET ON ARRIVAL TO ASTANA AND REASONS FOR THEIR POPULARITY HERE

Soweto String Quartet


Sandile Kemese (Sandile Khemese), 60 years old - musical director, violinist

Thansanga Khemese, 54 years old - musician, violinist

Makhosini Meshak Mnguni, 52 years old - musician, viola player

Themba Machobane, 30 years old - musician, cellist



About the band


Our quartet was established in 1978. Initially, three of us, we’re brothers by the way, and a friend were there. Much has happened in 40 years: someone left to study and returned, someone became a band participant only after auditions.

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We play different music, and have already released eight albums. We write music and play other’s songs.

We were invited to EXPO-2017 to perform on the Africa Plaza stage. We signed a contract for a month and a half. Before coming here, unfortunately, we did not know about Kazakhstan. But thanks to technology and Google we found all the necessary information. Here we witnessed that Astana is a beautiful, developing city. Night life is especially absorbing.



About Astana and Expo-2017


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We’ve visited "Khan Shatyr" and the "Astana Opera" theater. The theater architecture is really impressive. Temba is the youngest among us, so he’s already been to several bars and clubs: Tarantino, Goodbar, Icon. Astana nightlife is tremendous, but we work a lot and just want to rest at weekends. Unluckily, we don’t have enough time to now the city closer.

Locals are not used to seeing black people, so they tend to stare at us surprisingly. People want to take photos with us everywhere. We have a lack of privacy outside, yet it’s understandable and some people see us for the first time. It is still difficult to talk with people freely, as few of them understand English.

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Makosini Meshak Mnguni. I’ll never forget that, having just arrived in Astana, I had people touching my hair out of curiosity. I couldn’t get what was happening, but people were delighted. Once I’ll tell my grandchildren about the country where people didn’t see a black man and didn’t know his hair feels like! We were surprised by that. Our arrival is a good opportunity for Kazakhstan to learn more about us. We’ve already met many foreign musicians. Now we have many friends all around the world.

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South African and Kazakhstan mentality is different, but music joins us. Music allows all of us to speak the same language.

We’ve already tried horse meat and bauyrsaks in Astana, we liked them much. At a friend's birthday party we had Kazakh tea, local vegetables. Kazakh people are hospitable.

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The period in Astana was a crazy experience. We’ve never been taken so many photos. We are photographed in all countries, but Kazakhstan was a champion in it! Each of us is photographed about 50 times a day. We are likely to get more popular than the President. In general, it was amazing; we had a lot of positive emotions. Surely, we’ll remember only positive things about Kazakhstan.

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Once we met a lady who came to Astana from the South Kazakhstan! That entire trip was just to visit EXPO-2017. She brought her mother, grandmother and relatives with her. I was surprised by the efforts she made for her family. EXPO-2017 gathered a lot of people, that’s great. The exhibition seems to fulfill its main task – it has brought the whole world in Astana and showed the country to foreigners.