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A quartet from the Republic Of South Africa on their arrival to Astana and reasons to be photographed 50 times a day


A quartet from the Republic Of South Africa on their arrival to Astana and reasons to be photographed 50 times a day

Soweto String Quartet

Sandile Kemese (Sandile Khemese), 60 years old — musical director, violinist

Thansanga Khemese, 54 years old — musician, violinist

Makhosini Meshak Mnguni, 52 years old — musician, viola player

Themba Machobane, 30 years old — musician, cellist

About the band


Our quartet was established in 1978, almost 40 years ago. Initially there were three brothers and a friend. Much has happened during this period: someone left to study and returned back, someone became a band participant, passing through competitions.

We play different music, already released eight albums. We write music and play other people's songs.

We were invited to EXPO-2017 to perform on the Africa Plaza stage. We signed a contract for a month and a half. Before coming here, unfortunately, we did not know about Kazakhstan. But thanks to technology and Google we found all the necessary information. Arriving, we saw that Astana is a beautiful, developing city. Night life is especially absorbing.

About Astana and Expo-2017


We visited "Khan Shatyr", were in the "Astana Opera" theater — a very beautiful building. Temba is the youngest, so he’s been to several bars and clubs: Tarantino, Goodbar, Icon. Nightlife is rich, but we work a lot and just want to rest on the weekends. We do not have much time to get acquainted closer with the city.

Locals are not used to seeing black people, so they tend to stare at us surprisingly. People want to take photos with us everywhere. We have a lack of private space, but the locals can be understood, since some of them saw us for the first time. It is still difficult to talk to people, as not everyone understands English.


Makosini Meshak Mnguni. I’ll never forget that having just arrived in Astana, people began touching my hair out of curiosity. I did not understand anything, but people were delighted. One day I’ll tell my grandchildren that I went to a country where people have never seen a black man and did not touch his hair. We were surprised by that. This is a good opportunity for Kazakhstan to learn more about us. We also got to know many musicians from other countries. Now we have many friends around the world.

South African and Kazakhstan mentality is different, but the music joins us. Music allows all of us speak the same language.

бас в цп.jpg

In Astana we’ve already tried horse meat and bauyrsak, we liked them much. At a friend's birthday party we tried Kazakh tea, local vegetables. Kazakh people are hospitable.


The period in Astana was a crazy experience. We’ve never taken photos so much. We were photographed everywhere, but in Kazakhstan most of all. Each of us is photographed 50 times a day. I guess we are becoming more popular than the President. In general, it was amazing; we had a lot of positive emotions. Surely, we’ll remember only positive things about Kazakhstan.


Once a lady told us that she came from the South Kazakhstan to visit EXPO-2017. She brought her mother, grandmother and relatives. I was surprised that she did so much for her family. EXPO-2017 gathered a lot of people, that’s great. EXPO-2017 seems to fulfill its main task - to bring the whole world here and show the country.

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