Singing for a Cause: The African Choir's Mission to Raise Awareness and Funds in 1891 Britain

The African Choir was composed of around 30 individuals, mainly from the Xhosa and Zulu tribes, who had been brought to South Africa by the Reverend Worthington to educate and Christianize the indigenous population. The tour began in May 1891 and lasted for several months, with the choir performing in various churches, concert halls, and other venues. They sang a mix of traditional African songs and Christian hymns and performed traditional dances. The tour was a success, with the choir receiving positive reviews for their performances and drawing large crowds.

The tour was also significant as it was one of the first instances of black South Africans traveling to Europe and being able to perform in front of a wider audience. Prior to this tour, African performers were mainly limited to performing in ethnographic exhibitions or in front of colonial audiences. The African Choir’s tour helped to challenge the stereotypes of the time and to raise awareness of the lives of the people of South Africa.

The tour also helped raise money for various charitable causes, including the education and Christianization of the indigenous population, and for the relief of the victims of the rinderpest outbreak which devastated the southern African cattle population.

Reverend Worthington also took some choir members to America for a similar tour. After that, some choir members decided to stay in England and America, where they settled and started new lives. Overall, the tour of the African Choir in 1891 was a significant event in both South Africa’s history and the United Kingdom’s history. It helped raise awareness of the lives and culture of the people of South Africa and to challenge stereotypes of the time.

#3 The African Choir Programme via Northumberland Archives

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

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