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With our hands up in the air

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With our hands up in the air, in Llangollen

We danced down the street with the shouts of Shosholoza never seizing, our djembe’s still competing with the those of the Indian group ahead of us. With our hands in the air, we waved our flags, sang our anthem and stole the show at the 2017 Llangollen Parade Of Nations.

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In the tiny kitchen of the 7th floor of the University of Wrexham’s boarding facility, I started the day having breakfast with Mr Silk and chatting about the today’s events, particularly today’s competition. Today was our big day, today was the day of the Youth Choirs competition. The group left on time for the first time in our 12 day stay in the UK and we made our way to the busses for the short trip from Wrexham to Llangollen. In the bus the energy coming from the choristers was contagious and after yesterday’s disappointing result where we came 8th, we were determined to set the record straight.

With our competition only starting at 14:00, we had a lot of time to kill and opted to hit the streets of Llangollen and explore the town a bit more. After some ice-cream and coffee at the river, (because well, who cares) we made our way back to our rehearsal tent where we had a vocal warm-up and sang over our songs to make sure we were ready and focused. The performance went well and after some lunch, we headed back to the pavilion and waited anxiously for our adjudication. When the adjudicator announced that we had come 4th, we were not over the moon with joy, but still happy with the result. We put this behind us, as it was now time for the Parade of Nations.

With our giant national flag and our hands in the air holding our smaller national flags, we marched down the streets singing and dancing, shouting and laughing. The route crisscrossed through the village and at every junction each group performed something. As we approached the next corner, our gumboot dancers moved to the front and started their routine. As They called out their phrase, “un, dau, bore da?”(Welsh for “one, two, good morning!) we replied with “bore da!”, and then the Welsh crowd erupted in cheers and applause.

At the next corner the officials asked us to sing/shout a bit softer as we were drowning out the Welsh choir behind us, and in a typical MHS response, we sang and shouted even louder. Us Michaelhouse boys soon started doing our own war-cries and the crescendo of noise coming from our group made me extremely proud to be South African.

The parade ended back at the Llangollen pavilion where we huddled into a group and sang our version of Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika, moved off to the buses and headed back to Wrexham for the night.

Back in the tiny kitchen of the 7th floor of the University of Wrexham’s boarding facility, I ended the day by having dinner with Mr Silk. After our meal, Mr Silk confronted me about the fact that I had lost my voice at the parade and after a short debate, we came to the conclusion that it was absolutely worth it.

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