It was a spirit-filled atmosphere as people from all walks of life came together to experience the healing power of music at the fifth edition of the Alabanza Mega Gospel Concert, the first edition ever in South Africa.
The concert, which held on Sunday, 26 March 2017, at The Lyric Theatre, in Gold Riff, Johannesburg, and was organised by Tehila Records. It also doubled as a peace concert in efforts to promote peace and unity on the African continent, especially in the light of the recent xenophobic attack on Nigerians and other nationals in South Africa.
Tagged “South Africa Meets Nigeria”, the concert was also an avenue to foster peace and friendship between Nigeria and South Africa by giving nationals of both countries an opportunity to appreciate each other’s music and tradition under the same roof.
Beginning with the comperes, Freke Umoh (Nigeria) and Loyiso Bala (South Africa), the event’s aim of fostering unity in diversity was exemplified by the variety of gospel artistes from both Nigeria and South Africa who performed at the show.
Nigerian artistes who ministered at the event include Enkay, Chiika 100percent, Sammie Okposo, Chioma Jesus, Onos Ariyo and Bukola Bekes. Other Nigerian artistes who performed at the event are Freke Umoh, Tim Godfrey, James Okon, Tim Tehila, Annie Ibrahim and Emeka DMD.
South Africa also had a very strong musical contingent at the event with Ntokozo Mbatha, Nqubeko Mbatha, Loyiso Bala and Khaya Mthethwa all performing. Also performing at the event were Mabongi, Uche (Double double), Mpume, and Mahalia Buchanan.
Speaking about the event, Convener, Alabanza Concert and CEO Tehila Records, Timothy Ogboruche, said; “I believe that if both Nigerians and South Africans can understand their differences and truly appreciate each other, they would be able to coexist peacefully. The peace concert is, therefore, one of the ways of strengthening the principles of friendship and peace between citizens of both countries, knowing that we both have mutually beneficial relationships to gain from.”
Meanwhile, the Alabanza concert team had a day earlier, paid a visit to Rosettenville, one of the communities affected by the xenophobic crisis in Johannesburg. The team, led by the concert convener, Mr. Ogboruche, sympathised with the community and also appealed for peaceful co-existence between South Africans and Nigerians in the country.
The concert team was received by the community leaders alongside South African police officials and was taken on a tour to see the houses burnt down during the disputes. The community leaders emphasised that they felt no hatred for their foreign neighbours while reiterating their stance against xenophobia.
The community leaders also expressed gratitude to the Alabanza concert team for the initiative, while hoping that the visit would be a continuous one as there was the need for more discussions between the Nigerian residents and the South African citizens in order to solidify the mutual understanding between both parties.
Prayers were offered for the victims and the community, while the Alabanza team also distributed some welfare items.
The Alabanza Concert, an annual event since 2013, had a unique feeling as it was the first time the event took place outside the shores of Nigeria.