There’s a new group of South African tenors on the block, and they’re making (sound) waves in all the right places.

The Mzansi Tenors were formed at the end of 2021 as South Africa’s Covid-19 lockdowns started easing. Since then, they have been honing their considerable talents, assisted by Rand Merchant Bank and music maestro Richard Cock’s network of musical development – including a local vocal coach and music legend Ralf Schmitt – leading to a live performance on the Starlight Classics stage on 5 March 2022.

The group was formed by University of Cape Town music lecturer, Sipho Fubesi, who recognised the potential in each of the 10 members of the chorus while they were under his tutelage.

“In my work at UCT, teaching classical singing, I am exposed to a lot of amazing talent, both men and women,” he says. “As a tenor myself, I noticed some extraordinary talent among several of my students. It’s exciting to find a good tenor, let alone 10 of them! I had the idea to form a singing group and approached the students, who all accepted immediately.”

Fubesi says he was delighted by the level of interest generally and corporate support for the tenors.

“The fact that we got to sing on the Starlight Classics has been a definite breakthrough for us,” he says. “I love that we were given a platform for South Africans to hear us. This was the first time that any of the tenors has performed to an audience of thousands and they performed like true professionals.”

Starlight Classics, which is put on each year by Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), is well known for showcasing new talent.

“As well as sharing the music of already-established performers, Starlight Classics has always been a platform for finding and nurturing exceptional African musicians, both experienced and inexperienced,” says RMB creative counsel, Carolynne Waterhouse. “We see it as a vehicle for unlocking talent and introducing up-and-coming artists into the creative economy, where they get rewarded financially for their hard work, dedication and ability.”


Renowned musician and conductor, Maestro Richard Cock, was instrumental in introducing the group to the Starlight Classics team. He says the group’s talent and energy are amazing.

“There’s a lot of potential here,” he says. “Each of the tenors has made it to university and has excellent, marketable talent. And when the 10 of them get together, they make something truly remarkable. That’s what attracted me to them and what made me recommend them for Starlight Classics.”

Cock worked closely with the tenors in the days leading up to Starlight Classics.

“I have been very impressed by their focus, dedication, energy and professionalism,” he says. “They have blown everyone away.”

Fubesi says the future looks bright for the singing group.

“I have gigs coming up in Israel and Cape Town, and we’re convinced that the exposure we gained from the RMB Starlight Classics stage will bring in many more bookings.”

For booking enquiries, contact Sipho Fubesi on +27 83 469 6191.