#MusicExchange: Rapid-fire Q&A with Ndlovu Youth Choir’s Sandile Majola

On Sunday 25 April, ‘Jerusalema’ hitmaker Master KG and the Ndlovu Youth Choir, will be performing live on Robben Island for Africa Rising and the Live Love non-profit organisation

Martin Myers by Martin Myers

From The South African

The vibrant Ndlovu Youth Choir’s incredible run on America’s Got Talent in 2019, made them the first choir in the history of either America’s Got Talent or Britain’s Got Talent to reach the final. Their soul-stirring performances won hearts and minds around the world. 

After the final, record executive Simon Cowell  went on to sign the choir and together with SYCO and Sony Music they released their first album, Africa, which debuted at No 1 on iTunes. The album includes an amazing version of Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuses iconic song Burnout.

ALSO READ: Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse: Q&A with one of SA’s greatest musos


We Will Rise is their first original song which debuted with their second album, Rise, in July 2020. The choir aims to raise awareness about the plight of the arts and encourage people to support artists and performers, as well as arts organisations, during the COVID-19 pandemic with Rise.

The music video for We Will Rise that was filmed at the Atterbury Theatre, in Pretoria, was released in February this year. Have a look:


The South African chatted to the Ndlovu Youth Choir’s choir master Sandile Majola about what makes him and the choir tick. 

The new decade means ? 

A new opportunity to break boundaries and to watch our dreams play out.

Fame is about? 

Being a blueprint to other youngsters who don’t believe it’s possible to make it.

I / We don’t do ?


What does music mean to you?

It speaks to the soul.

Our music is about?

Spreading love, hope and connecting people and nations. 

Image: Supplied

We would love to co-write with? 

Ed Sheeran, Adele, Beyonce.

Where do you go for inspiration to create ?

I just walk around in my village and hang out with my people and talk about beautiful things. 

What is the most enjoyable aspect of your work ?

Getting to work with some of  biggest and most inspirational people of all time 

The song you must do in every show ?

We Will Rise

Any funny moments on stage?

One of the choir members had a horrible stomach bug during a show and he just walked out during the performance and came back after a few songs.

Your heroes? 

[Ndlovu Youth Choir conductor and director] Ralf Schmitt and [CEO of the Ndlovu Care Group, the NGO that birthed the choir]  Dr Hugo Tempelman. 

Which living person do you admire most and why?

Ralf Schmitt. He pushes me to be a better person and have a brighter future. 

Members of the Ndlovu Youth Choir with director and conductor Ralf Schmitt. Image: Supplied

What is your most treasured possessions? 

Well, I’m not sure if it counts…but it’s the real people in my life, people who love me for who I am.

It’s your round what are you drinking?

  • Coke
  • Sparkling water

Dream gig to do?


What makes you stand out?

My hairstyle. 


Sanza or Msandi.

If you were not musicians  what would you do?

An actor or geologist. 

Who would play you in a Hollywood Blockbuster and why ?

Actor Kevin Hart. Firstly because I’m a fan, secondly because I feel like I relate to him.

Pick five words to describe yourself?

  • Strong
  • Ambitious
  • Driven
  • Believer
  • Fighter 

Five favourite SA artists? 

  • Ladysmith Black Mambazo
  • Ray Phiri
  • Mafikizolo
  • Brenda Fassie
  • Benjamin Dube

Greatest movie ever made? 

Black Panther. It was a beautiful confidence boost for the black community.

What books are you reading ? 

All you need to know about Music Business

What song changed your life? 

Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You.   

My favourite words? 

To God be the glory 

Give us some real proper slang and what it means

Ntswempu.. it basically means “dope” in urban English dictionary and it basically means “great” “awesome

Your greatest achievement?

Stepping on that America’s Got Talent stage and actually making it to the finals…It was surreal 

What is your fear?

Failing to achieving the goals I’ve set from myself. 

Happiness is?

Being able to do what you love. 

On stage I / we tend to?

 Zone in to a different exciting world and forget about everything and just perform.  

The best life lesson you have been taught?

To never underestimate yourself regardless of your background or your current situation. Believe in yourself and fight for what you believe in and you shall rise! 

Do you get worked up while watching a sports game on TV?

No, not at all. .

Where would you like to be right now?

On a big stage with my brothers and sisters from the choir, performing to thousands of people. 

Do you do charity work and if you do, what do you do ?

Well as I’m a member of NYC, we do a lot of charity shows

Wishes and dreams ?

My current wish is to see this black cloud over the world vanish so that everyone could live their normal lives and do what we love.

ALSO READ: Master KG, Ndlovu Youth Choir to perform at Robben Island this April

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