Seven questions for Bongani Ndodana-Breen

Financial Mail – Chris Thurman – 18 July 2013

FM: What drew you to the musical potential of the poem “Credo”?

  • Ndodana-Breen: The Freedom Charter is a complex document, but Brent Meersman’s poem distils it into a unifying vision.

FM: Does the Freedom Charter need to be reinvigorated?

  • Ndodana-Breen: It’s a living document. We wouldn’t have a democratic SA without it.

FM: How has Credo changed since your first inspiration?

  • Ndodana-Breen: It has evolved in a wonderful way, primarily through the multimedia work of Andrew Black.

FM: You have composed diverse works. Is it fair to describe you as a musical chronicler of SA history?

  • Ndodana-Breen: That’s a fair statement. I’m a Xhosa guy, I’m of this soil.

FM: Tell us about your company, Pina Ya Thari.

  • Ndodana-Breen: I started it with Brenda Sisane, who has worked tirelessly on Credo. We wanted to provide a certain voice that was missing in SA classical music.

FM: How is the fusion of classical music with SA musical idioms manifested in Credo?

  • Ndodana-Breen: There are some recognisable southern African tunes: protest songs and traditional Shona music.

FM: What’s your next project?

  • Ndodana-Breen: It’s a huge opera based on a famous SA novel, set hundreds of years ago.

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