From township to tenor glory

Tenors Shane Mdutyulwa and Mteto Maphoyi will be performing together for the first time in more than 10 years, at the Erinvale Clubhouse, on Saturday March 23.

From an early age, Shane Mdutyulwa and Mteto Maphoyi began to sing Italian opera songs on the streets of Hermanus, which they had memorised by listening to a Luciano Pavarotti CD.

Rehearsing in their township homes, they stepped out and sang in the streets for tourists and residents alike, and were wonderfully received for many years. They made money daily, and were able to help their parents financially.

As teenagers, Shane and Mteto went to the Cape Town Waterfront, where they continued to entertain with their natural talent.

Ultimately their lives parted, however, as other opportunities arose.

A Somerset West resident offered Shane accommodation, and sponsored his voice training for many years.

Later he was given an opportunity to go to Eagles Rising School in Sir Lowry’s Pass Village, where he was able to catch up with his neglected education.

Shane has been singing and entertaining at classical concerts, soirees, retirement villages and churches in Somerset West for 10 years.

He now sings regularly in the streets of Stellenbosch close to the busy restaurants.

Mteto has also had many opportunities to sing and have voice training on his own journey, and ultimately auditioned for the prestigious Mimi Coertze group, The Black Tie Ensemble, in Pretoria, where he sang for three years.

He has sung at Carnegie Hall in New York, where he related his love for opera, and how he started to sing it as a child.

Documentaries have been made about his life, and his courage and perseverance to become a classical singer, coming from a background of adversity and poverty.

He now lives in the Cape, and continues to use his voice wherever and whenever the opportunity arises, and can be heard outside restaurants at Big Bay and Blouberg.

These two young men, who have not sung together for more than 10 years, will be performing in a classical soiree on Saturday March 23, at 7pm for 7.30pm, at the Erinvale clubhouse in Somerset West.

They will be singing with sopranos, Tish Morgan and Denise Rogers, and the evening will comprise well-loved light classical songs, some opera and songs from the shows.

For more information and to book, contact Tish Morgan at 082 878 6143 or