World famous opera singer joins UFS

Sibongile Mngoma

Bloem’s music scene is about to get stirred up with sensational opera singer, Sibongile Mngoma, lending her talents to the University of the Free State as the new conductor of the UFS choir.

Mngoma has lent her beautiful soprano voice to major opera houses in the country, has performed with all the best orchestras and has shared her talent on the most impressive stages in the world.

After completing her BA Law degree at the University of Cape Town, like any other young person Mngoma was looking for her next challenge. “I was studying BA Law at UCT and after I had graduated, I had three options.

I could either do an honours in Greek and Roman Literature, an honours in Drama, or go on to do my post grad LLB. Then somebody told me about the auditions for opera at UCT and the trouble began with an unplanned audition at the opera school after my graduation, so literally, yeah, it was one of those accidents that turned out well,” she said.

She then went on to have a spectacular career. “And 26 years later here I am, I’ve sung on the most impressive stages in the world, I’ve sung with all the best orchestras in the country, I’ve sung on all the major stages of South Africa. By the age of 30 there wasn’t anything I hadn’t done that I wanted to do. So for the past 19 years I’ve just been trying to keep myself interested,” she added.

And she does so by working with young people, which is one of her great passions. Mngoma is looking forward to being in charge of the UFS choir. “I’m excited, because it’s something I’ve not done in a long time and like I said, I’m always trying to keep myself interested by finding different things to do. This is different from just learning a role and ending up singing for that role or singing in a concert.

“This is more where I have to be innovative and I have to redefine this choir, not to say that there is anything wrong with it, but I have to put my own stamp on it. Who’s to say that Sibongile Mngoma has touched this choir unless I have put my stamp on it? So I find that exciting because it’s like birthing a baby,” she said.

“I’m enjoying Bloem; its very calm and you don’t get lost in the madness of the big city. It seems like everybody is keen to do more stuff here. So I’m waiting to see how it’s all going to pan out,” she concluded excitedly.

To properly introduce Sibongile Mngoma to Bloemfontein residents, a special concert with a Christmas theme will be held at Urth Garden Centre on Friday 13 December.

Besides Mngoma, the concert, titled A Miracle on Urth, will also feature Corneil Muller of the Voice SA fame, world renowned artist Thoko Nogabe, former Idols SA contestant Shanice May, and the exciting new local talent, Kenosi Scheepers. These acts will be accompanied by local super band Pure Delicate Artistry (PDA).

Tickets to the show, which will start at 19:00, are available from Urth at R80 (pre-sold) and R100 at the door. Tickets can also be booked online at

Seithati Semenokane