It may be a surprise to some to know that some of the world’s best young opera singers come from the impoverished black townships of South Africa. 3 of them are now in the USA where they performed at the American Documentary Film Festival, in Palm Springs, CA, where a documentary about their lives called I Live to Sing, was screened last week.
Decades after the end of apartheid and Nelson Mandela’s election as South Africa’s first black president, the nation struggles to fulfill the promise of a transformed society. At the University of Cape Town’s once all-white opera school, both the struggle and the promise are embodied in a talented group of classical singers from the black townships.
Fully-titled Ndiphilela Ukucula: I Live to Sing, the film is a co-production of BetterThanFiction Productions and United Nations Television.
Julie Cohen is director and producer; Alex Lowther and Martha Yuan Tao are editors; Mary Lockhart is executive producer; Neal Shapiro is executive-in-charge.
Funding for Ndiphilela Ukucula: I Live to Sing was provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Jody and John Arnhold, and Friends of Thirteen, Dorothy Pacella Fund. Corporate support is provided by South African Airways.
PBS highlighted the film and its subjects in a March 29 report, which is embedded below: