African choir brings authentic inculturation to New Year’s Mass

07 Jan 2009

By The Record

The newly formed ‘Memories of Africa’ choir helped hundreds of Catholics welcome in the new year, singing hymns from Zambia and Zimbabwe at a Mass celebrated at St Thomas the Apostle Parish, Claremont on January 1.


The Memories of Africa Choir in full flight, made up of members of the families Kwaramba, Ngoma and Mutoya. Photo: Robert Hiini


 By Robert Hiini 

The 10-member choir, made up of parishioners from Floreat-Wembley and Dianella, sang songs in the Zimbabwean language Shona, in Tonga, a language spoken near the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, and Bemba and Chewa, both Zambian languages.
Hymns weren’t the only spiritual provisions the choir supplied as they led the congregation in expressive Mass parts that are common to those countries and in Catholic parishes across southern Africa.

The choir formed late last year when the Kwaramba family, originally from Zimbabwe met the Ngoma and Mutoya families, originally from Zambia, at Our Lady’s Assumption Parish in Dianella.
They first sang at the parish of Our Lady of Victories in Wembley in August last year.
At the New Year’s Day Mass, Parish Priest of Claremont, Fr Charles Waddell, told parishioners that the collection taken up during the Mass would be gifted to the fledgling choir.
The money will no doubt be put to good use as Mrs Kwaramba says that they aim to grow a “very big” African choir for Mass goers throughout Perth and especially expatriate Africans who might miss the way Mass is celebrated back in their country of origin.
Choir member Bibiana Kwaramba says that anyone from Africa who wants to sing songs from their own region is welcome to join, even if they are unable to commit to regular practices.
For more information about the Memories of Africa Choir, contact Bibiana on 9451 6602 or Rose on 9276 8138.