Blog – Mike Bhayibile – A passion for classical music & performing

A blog by Wandisile Afrika Sebezo: Wandisile Sebezo talks to Plett’s Mike Bhayibhile about his passion for classical music and performing at the Plett ARTS Festival.

Mike Bathande Bhayibhile might have grown up in a township like most of his peers, but he’s not your regular Joe where playing soccer and rugby is what makes a man in these neck of the woods; he rather opted for something totally different – classical music.

I begin our conversation by asking him why classical music of all things he could have done, and after a short chuckle, the church he points out, the Apostle Church to be exact, is all that influenced his passion for music and later a career in life.

Mike (39) was born in Mdantsane, East London, and his family moved to Plett in 1998 in search for greener pastures. He then completed his high school studies at Murray High and by this time the young Mike was already hooked on classical music that he did anything he could to learn more about music and by this time he also performed for local choirs outside of the school.

Mike enrolled for a Bachelor of Music at Fort Hare University and has been working as a choral coach in most of the Eastern Cape High Schools.

He bemoans the lack of interest and support from Kwano when it comes to classical and choral music, having done a number of shows in Plett over the last few years himself. Something unfortunate as Kwano once beamed with choral groups such as ‘Plett Choral’ and ‘Vumani Ingoma’ amongst others, and frequented by nationally acclaimed groups.

Back then choral concerts where the in thing; he now reckons hard work and a lot of discipline will have to be enforced to get today’s young people to be ever interested in the genre again.

Mike was thrilled to be invited to perform at this year’s Plett ARTS Festival alongside Dr Lisa Engelbrecht. Although he had wished to perform in front of a live audience, the experience of performing for an online audience which he described as “interesting” is one he will never forget, challenging as it was.

Stream Mike’s performance with Dr Lisa Engelbrecht and other shows from the Plett ARTS Festival on demand here.


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