UJ’s annual sêrrie competition heating up

ACAPELLA: Dromedaris Mens Residence will be upping their game in UJ's in-house sêrrie competition this year. Photo: Lameez Omarjee

ACAPELLA: Dromedaris Mens Residence will be upping their game in UJ’s in-house sêrrie competition this year. Photo: Lameez Omarjee

Veteran champions of the annual sêrrie competition at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), Dromedaris Mens Residence, is gearing up for a fierce competition this year.

“We are expecting fire because our rival res is actually up a notch from last year,” said Nhlanhla Sekwisa, head singer.

The group feels the pressure because the national “ATKV Universiteite Sêr” competition will be held at UJ at the end of the month.  “Seeing as the competition is coming back home, we are hoping to do great things and uphold UJ’s name,” said Nkosinathi Mbongwa, 2nd tenor.

Stiff competition

The residence has fared well in UJ’s in-house sêrrie competitions in the past.  The national “ATKV Universiteite Sêr” competition is the most popular group singing competition in the country and UJ competes with the likes of universities; Free State (Kovsies), Stellenbosch (Maties), Potchefstroom (Pukke) and Pretoria (Tuks).

SOME DRUMS: Dromedaris is trying a more recent  selection.  Photo: Lameez Omarjee

SOME DRUMS: Dromedaris have tried a new song selection this year. Photo: Lameez Omarjee

The toughest competitors being Stellenbosch residence, Hippokrates, having won the national competition for three years in a row.

Sekwisa mentioned that things were different this year because the group was trying out “recent music”.  “There is an influx of new guys so we kind of(sic) have a new sound this year.”

However, to handle the stress, the group relies on prayer and they “jam” a lot.

Clive Makume, the group choreographer agrees with the method of stress management.  “We usually sing gospel songs to get rid of our nerves,” he said.

Harmonizing helps them lift their spirits and get ready. Makume maintains that Dromedaris is “ready for the competition”.

Tenor Mbongwa, has been part of the group for four years and is optimistic about their chances.  “Every year there’s always an improvement.  We always just step up our game.”

Mbongwa explained that winning the in-house competition was a priority for Dromedaris because of the reputation they gained on campus for winning.

The group has been preparing for seven months, Mbongwa was impressed with the newcomers who brought “heart… and everything on stage”.

He admitted it was challenging to continue the Dromedaris culture.  “You move with the times and rules and changes and you need to accommodate new people.”

We try build a team, because at the end of the day, the team goes on stage, not just the individuals.

“We try build a team, because at the end of the day, the team goes on stage, not just the individuals.”

They always try to stay humble and pride themselves on their faith in God.  “When practice starts we pray.  When practice ends we pray.  Just to keep our faith alive.”

Soulful serenade

As a tradition, in preparation for the UJ sêrrie competition on August 11, the acapella singers performed at Jubilee Hall, Wits University.

 They have never disappointed.  They even won their whole competition the year before.  

The gentlemen came to garner support for their performance at the competition and to receive critiques in an attempt to make improvements to their sequence.

PHENOMENAL FOOTAGE: Residents from Jubilee Hall whipped out their smartphones to record the performance. Photo: Lameez Omarjee

PHENOMENAL FOOTAGE: Residents from Jubilee Hall whipped out their smartphones to record the performance.
Photo: Lameez Omarjee

The ladies at Jubilee Hall were excited about the prospect of being serenaded by dashing gentlemen.

“I’m expecting the girls to go (sic) ‘Wow!’ and say, ‘oh my gosh, take me home!’” said Refilwe Sedia, Jubilee Hall House Committee Chairperson.

Sikwokele Ncame, 2nd year BSc Urban and Regional Planning, was impressed with the group’s performance last year and instantly became a loyal fan.

“They have never disappointed.  They even won their whole competition the year before.”

She wants Wits to have its own sêrrie competition, because “it’s so awesome” and she believes Jubilee Hall would take the crown.

Ncame was looking forward to, “the voices and the looks, but mostly the voices”.

A 1st year BAccSci student, Makgatho Naruma  had never heard Dromedaris sing before.  But she heard good reports from other girls and expected them to “blow our minds away”.

If Dromedaris is successful in winning UJ’s in-house sêrrie competition, the acapella singers will go on to compete in the national competition on August 30, at UJ.

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