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Trials that Trail - recital series celebrating anti-apartheid heroes

By: stagedoorscribbler - August 17, 2020

Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Photograph by Hattie Miles

When Andrew Mlangeni, the last of the great South African freedom fighters jailed in the Rivonia Trials of 1963, died last month at the age of 95 it truly was the end of an era.
Now the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and the ARCO Project are honouring Mlangeni and his fellow anti-apartheid campaigners with an exciting series of eleven “live” online viola recitals.
The series - Trials that Trail - started last week and runs until 8th September. It  will feature ten world premieres composed by South African composer Monthati Zenzile Masebe.
Each viola piece is an individual tribute to the Rivonia Trialists.  In addition to Mlangeni they include tributes to Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Arthur Goldreich, Bob Hepple, Ahmed Kathrada, James Kantor, Elias Motsoledi and Lionel Berstein.
When Mlangeni died on July 21st Archbishop Desmond Tutu said his passing -  sounded “the last post” for a generation of courageous South African freedom fighters.
Mlangeni was among those sentenced to life imprisonment for their struggle to overthrow the white minority regime behind apartheid. He would spend 26 years in prison, serving much of his sentence on Robben Island.
A statement from the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation described him as part of “a courageous generation of South Africans who forfeited their freedom, careers, family lives and health so that we could all be free.”
The Trials that Trail recital series is also being performed to celebrate and support the achievements of three young South African Musicians - Kamo Maraba, Sifiso Mbatha and Jordan Brooks - all of whom will be coming to study at UK Music Schools this September.
You can donate at
 Any money will go towards supporting these three young stars