Watch: Prince Harry Asks Stellies Choir For a Group Hug!
Photo Cred: Stellenbosch University Choir

It’s the Stellenbosch University Choir shouting “South Africa” for me!


Tokyo (10 August 2023) – In a heartwarming moment that’s setting the internet abuzz with joy, Prince Harry shared an endearing backstage interaction with the Stellenbosch University Choir during the ISPS Sports Values Summit-Special Edition in Tokyo. The Duke of Sussex, on his mission to Asia, embarked on a journey that reaffirmed his genuine connection with people from around the world.

As captured in a video that’s now making waves on social media, Prince Harry displayed his characteristic warmth and approachability while meeting the Stellenbosch University Choir members.

“Keep spreading the love,” he urged, eliciting a chorus of laughter from the talented vocalists.

It’s no surprise that the students felt the embrace of his sincerity. The Stellenbosch Choir, known for their remarkable musical prowess, had the distinct honour of opening the ISPS summit under the baton of conductor André van der Merwe.

Prince Harry’s infectious positivity didn’t stop at kind words, as he made a whimsical request that has stolen hearts the world over. Turning to the choir members with a grin, he asked, “Can we have one group hug?” The answer, a resounding “South Africa,” echoed the choir’s origin and the universal power of human connection.

André van der Merwe, the conductor of this renowned choir, expressed his admiration for Prince Harry’s humility in meeting with them. Van der Merwe playfully commented that the Duke was “so modest for such an icon,” adding a light-hearted quip that left us all curious about whom he might have been comparing Harry to. The exchange was nothing short of heartwarming.

The Stellenbosch University Choir’s role in the ISPS Sports Values Summit-Special Edition was a testament to their excellence. With 50 choristers, the choir accompanied the university’s rector and vice-chancellor, Professor Wim de Villiers, to the event focusing on sports, community, and philanthropy. Their harmonious voices set the stage for a summit centred on values that resonate across cultures and borders.

A quick dive into the choir’s accolades reveals a story of consistent excellence. They have clinched the No.1 spot as the world’s best mixed amateur choir for a remarkable 11 years running, as bestowed by Interkultur, the organizers of the World Choir Games. Their triumphs extend to the prestigious Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in Wales, where they swept all three categories in 2018 with scores of over 90%. Conductor André van der Merwe’s prowess was recognized with the Jayne Davies Prize for Best Conductor at the Eisteddfod.

The Stellenbosch University Choir is a powerful embodiment of South Africa’s diverse population, comprising 120 students from various academic disciplines. Under André van der Merwe’s leadership, they have forged a legacy of technical brilliance that tugs at the heartstrings of audiences worldwide. Through their performances, they share the rich tapestry of South African culture and its stories, fostering understanding and unity on a global scale. For 83 years, the choir has been a dynamic mirror of societal shifts in South Africa, standing tall as a beacon of music’s ability to bridge divides and cultivate harmony. Stellenbosch University takes pride in their choir’s exceptional prowess, recognizing it as an ambassador of excellence and a driving force for positive change.

Watch one of their most viewed performances (with almost 10 million views) here:

Prince Harry’s spontaneous group hug request is now etched in the annals of heartfelt moments. As the Stellenbosch Choir continues to serenade hearts across the globe, their harmonious melodies echo a sentiment that transcends borders: the undeniable power of music and genuine connections to uplift spirits, inspire change and unite the world.

Sources: Stellenbosch University Choir
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Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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