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Khabo Dhlamini (38) will jet off to Barcelona, Spain, in October to represent South Africa in the 2022 World Choral Cup, which will feature music ranging from African tunes to jazz and western classical. Dhlamini, alongside the multi-award-winning Joburg chamber choir Quava Vocal Group, will compete against renowned choirs from across the world at an international competition dubbed “Sing for Gold”.

The customer relations agent in Region C is excited about the opportunity to represent Johannesburg and SA. The competition in Spain will require Dhlamini to fund herself. Support in any form would be appreciated. You can contact her on 061 139 7625 if you would like to help make her dream come true.

The Quava Vocal Group consists of 34 members aged between 23 and 38 years. Dhlamini co-founded the group in 2008. In 2018, they won two gold medals at the World Choir Games in Pretoria in the contemporary jazz and adult contemporary categories. This paved the way for their next big performance in Spain. Other musical highlights include their collaboration with Durban-based musician, Majozi, during the live rounds of the Voice South Africa in 2019.

Dhlamini’s choir has also performed on Talk Radio 702, and in 2019, performed with a full orchestra at the prestigious RMB Starlight Classics, a local music, song, and dance extravaganza that features performers from various backgrounds.

The Quava Vocal Group’s motto is “love God and excellence”, and their dream is to be recognised across the globe for excellence.

Dhlamini, a first soprano, grew up in a household where singing was part of their lifestyle. Her brothers sang in choirs, and her family would enjoy singing and worshipping after their prayer time at 9pm. “My dad (Josiah) and mom (Priscilla) also sing. We’ve been singing for years.”

Coming from a humble home, Dhlamini’s father taught her and her siblings to never neglect their dreams. He always drove her to choir rehearsals no matter the distance.

She sang in the University of Johannesburg’s choir from 2003 to 2006, an opportunity she was ecstatic about since she always wanted to learn more about music and found choir groups to be the best foundation. “You’re never done learning, you’ll always be a student of learning,” she says.

Dhlamini completed a Marketing Communications degree from Rand Afrikaans University. She joined Joburg Water in 2005 as a cashier. She’s been a Customer Relations Agent in Region C since 2012.

She considers singing a form of therapy and praise. “God gave me this talent, and I’m privileged and blessed to share it with people. We might speak different languages, but music reaches us in the same way.”

She is a firm believer that “your heart always shows up in your music”.

Dhlamini draws inspiration from Brenda Mtambo, Sabelo Mthembu, Amanda Black and Lalah Hathaway.

Written by Brümilda Swartbooi