South Africans living in London gathered Thursday night at SA House in Trafalgar Square, for an incredibly special evening with rock diva PJ Powers and Khulisa Global Mentorship. (Watch PJ’s moving performance of ‘Shosholoza’, with expats on stage with her, below.)
Pumela Salela from Brand SA introduced the evening and PJ Powers:
She said: “This is not an ordinary concert, it’s a concert with a purpose. When I say PJ, you say Powers! When I say Khulisa, you say nurture! When I say Global Mentorship Movement, you say that’s me!”
The Deputy High Commissioner, Golden Neswiswi welcomed PJ Powers and guests to South Africa House for the occasion of launching Khulisa in the UK market.
Powers is in the UK to launch Khulisa’s Digital humanitarianism project. PJ shared some of her story in between songs.
“I knew that it was my destiny to sing. I wanted to be a famous singer when I was 5. I used to walk around behind my sister with a tape recorder and plead with my sister ‘Priscilla, please, please can you interview me.'”
“When I was 18, even what we heard on the radio was segregated. Only Zulu songs were played on Zulu radio etc. Everything was state controlled. It was an incredible shock when I got a call from my manager asking me if I wanted to do a show in Soweto. This was the ’80s. We looked like a very bad version of Smokey – stone washed jeans and bad hair. When I saw the crowd in Soweto I thought, ‘wow, I’m like Tina Turner!'”
“You haven’t seen me in a while. I wouldn’t have been surprised if you thought I was going to come out on stage in a Zimmer frame.”
“I realised recently that Jabulani is my ‘Chicken Licken’* – I’ll never get away from it. I’m proud of Jabulani because it’s woven itself into the fabric of South Africa.” (*A reference to actor Joe Mafela’s comment that he could never get away from his line in the Chicken Licken adverts: “It’s good good good it’s good it’s nice”)
“Show business is a weird business. One minute you can be up. The next minute down,” PJ spoke of her battle with fame and alcohol and finally rebuilding her career.
PJ also spoke of being encouraged by Nelson Mandela, writing “The World In Union” for the World Cup rugby in 1995 with Ladysmith Black Mambazo and meeting the Queen.
“I have to believe that things change and people change, because I changed. We are still a country of strong, beautiful, resilient people. Everything is in a state of decay: this microphone, this body. But not the human soul if it is nurtured. We all need nurturing. There is hope for South Africa.”
Referring to Khulisa Social Solutions’ Mentoring programme, PJ said:
“It’s time for me to give back to the people who have nurtured me.”
Addressing the gathered crowd of South African expats, she said:
“I want to congratulate South Africans living abroad… you are so proud to be South African. Send some of that back home.”
Lesley Ann van Selm is the Founder of Khulisa Social Solutions. She started working in prisons to help rehabilitate young offenders 20 years ago. She changed the focus later on in order to work with young people to prevent them from becoming criminals i.e. dealing with the causes rather than the resultant behaviour. Dominique Airey is the head of Khulisa UK. Khulisa means ‘to nurture’ in Xhosa and that is really what their tried and tested method is all about.
“The vision of Khulisa is that South Africans pledge their time to change the lives of those in poverty and dire need in South Africa.”
“There is always a reason why things happen in a person’s life. Understanding that is paramount. Khulisa looks at the causal factors of poverty and crime and how we can use the knowledge in the community to create micro enterprise opportunities, sharing and bringing resources together.”
“We hope to tap into the market of global South Africans. We know you love SA and are devastated by what’s going on there. Our digital platform is where South Africans can give back. One individual or a group can bring skills to an environment where they can help others. Khulisa even has a way to demonstrate to you the impact that you are making. It’s a global mentoring partnership. We currently have over 400 partners.”
Special Evening in London with PJ Powers – Videos:
Feel So Strong