Return to Transcripts main page
Bill is Dead But Not Withdrawn; Migrant Facilities Story with Different Versions; President Trump Renew His Rhetoric; Inside Africa, History Of Isicathamiya. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired July 9, 2019 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[03:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARRIE LAM, HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE: The bill is dead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR: The controversial extradition bill that sparked weeks of protests in Hong Kong is now dead but not completely withdrawn. We'll have the reaction from Hong Kong in Beijing.
Plus, France sends the tough diplomat to check in on Iran after the country exceeded its limits on uranium enrichment.
And Hungary scared and sick. I'll talk to one of the authors of the New York Times report that reveal disturbing conditions at the U.S. migrant center.
Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from around the world. I'm Paula Newton, and this is CNN Newsroom.
Hong Kong protestors are rejecting the chief executive's announcement that the controversial extradition bill is dead. Because Carrie Lam did not formally withdraw the bill and there is a difference. She did admit though, that the government has failed and she recognized the frustrations she says of protestors and what they've been going through.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAM: I fully understand that the responses of the government may not have fully met the wishes of the people, especially the protestors who have gone on the streets several times to express their views.
I just want to reiterate that this is not -- this has nothing to do with my own pride or arrogance. This is the government's full deliberation of the various concerns and factors and comes with a conclusion that the responses are practical matches for us to move ahead.
(END VIDEO CLIP) NEWTON: Now the bill would've allowed Hong Kong residents to be sent to mainland China the same trial. It sparked weeks of massive sometimes violent protests.
CNN's Anna Coren joins us now from Hong Kong. And it does not seem that this will be enough from protestors. Anan, what have you been hearing in terms of reaction?
ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Protestors, Paula, are furious that she hasn't use the word withdraw. That was one of their key demands. Withdraw the extradition bill. Yes, she said the bill is dead but why not use that legal term withdraw. It's still part of the legislative program.
So, protestors are very frustrated that she hasn't -- she hasn't given them this. They, of course see this as a small win, a small victory. But it doesn't go anywhere, anywhere near close enough to satisfy their frustration, their anger and their demands.
Well, to discuss this further is pro-democracy lawmaker Fernando Cheung, who I have spoken to over the past months several times. Fernando, if Carrie Lam had announced this several weeks ago, would it have made a difference?
FERNANDO CHEUNG, PRO-DEMOCRACY LAWMAKER: I think so. I think if she had announced it -- well, she has to use the term withdraw, anything short of that is not satisfactory. Because we understand that without that the government can revive or resume the second reading or revive the legislative process in 12 working days.
CHEUNG: So, she has to withdraw. And there's a -- the main slogan of the campaign is we won't leave until it is withdrawn.
COREN: So why use that terminology? Why not use that word?
CHEUNG: It boggles my mind. I think perhaps she's not controlling herself by that, she is perhaps ordered by the communist regime that she cannot use the terminology withdraw. Otherwise, I don't see any reason for her to be so adamant about not using the term withdraw.
COREN: It's a month today that a million people took out -- took to the streets of Hong Kong in that first major protest. It's taking her a whole month to make this statement. I mean, why is it taking her so long to listen, to finally listen to the people?
CHEUNG: I think it is the lack of checks and balances in the system. She does not, or perhaps did not listen to any of the opposition voices. And apparently, everybody in her executive council simply yes- sayers. And with the current system the legislature guarantees that she has sufficient folks to pass anything she wants.
[03:04:58] So with that, there is no checks and balances and this is what the public comes -- has come to understand. That in the longer term, we're not only asking for a complete withdraw of the extradition bill. We're looking at the necessity to perform a political reform. Otherwise, this could repeat itself in another occasion.
COREN: And, Fernando, are you amongst the group calling for her to resign as well? Do you think if she would to step down it would make a difference?
CHEUNG: Well, of course, if she steps down it will make a difference. The problem is, she does not only refuse to step down herself, she is not having anything ruling at this point. She only offered apology. But apology at this time is too late, people are asking for accountability and that people have to pay a price for that responsibility.
COREN: Fernando, what does this mean for the protest movement here in Hong Kong?
CHEUNG: It means that our younger generation has awaken. They have come to understand that the current political system does not work. And even if the current campaign subsides in the future, any other new initiatives such as the national anthem law or the 1,000-acre man-made island that has been proposed by the chief executive. These measures would not go through without major protest. So, I think effectively, the government has become a lame duck.
COREN: Fernando Cheung, good to see you. We thank you for speaking to us.
So, Paula, we are expecting more protests. We've only just got word that there is going to be protests later today. Obviously, coming up over the coming weeks as well. This is a movement that is feeling embolden. That there is momentum and today they see Carrie Lam's announcement as a small victory a small win.
They probably don't want to term it that way but it's certainly something that give these protestors and the majority of young people here a great deal of hope. Paula?
NEWTON: Yes. A great deal of hope and it will continue it seems to escalate the situation in the meantime. Anna Coren continuing to track reaction.
We now turn to Ronny Tong, he is a non-official member of the executive council of Hong Kong. And I want to put the question to you, we were just now Anna was speaking to Fernando Cheung and he said, look, they are looking for political reforms now. Democratic reforms that go much further than the issues raised by that extradition bill. How do you think that will be handled by lawmakers in Hong Kong?
RONNY TONG, MEMBER, HONG KONG EXECUTIVE COUNCIL: Well, I think he was touching the same way as any other major issue in which we are looking for common ground. We are looking a way in which there would be genuine dialog between the two sides.
And I hope that Fernando would understand as much as anybody else that political reform is a tough issue and it requires all the concerns that we can get in order to make it moving. But remember, today, Carrie Lam did mention occupies central and she
mentioned about the core differences within the community. And I'm quite sure she also has in question the political reform in mind although she expresses may refer to it but by referring to occupy central, obviously she was also thinking in mind a political reform.
But no way that it's probably going to be a more difficult issue than, for example, you know, recommission manpower or the national --
NEWTON: Right. But, Ronny, but, Ronny, really what's happened here is she had made these issues more difficult. She is not trusted by the protest movement anymore and by her own act of contrition she has said that this was a complete failure. How do you move forward from here? And will you accept that it might be best that Carrie Lam step down as Hong Kong tries to move forward?
TONG: Well, I think it's not as simple as simply, it's not a simple matter indeed to ask her to step down. Let's face it, in the 22 years of history of the SAR government, every successful chief executive has been subjective to the course of stepping down.
But Carrie Lam is the only and the first one who apologize to the people of Hong Kong and successively and continuously reach out and tried to compromise (Inaudible) more consensus within the community.
So, by staying on the job, she is pledging to try to do something good about Hong Kong. And I think it's only fair that she should be given a chance. After all, can you tell me which administration has not made any --
[03:10:05] NEWTON: Well, these are --
TONG: -- mistakes in the times that they are in charge of the government?
NEWTON: But Ronny, these are -- Ronny, these are unprecedented times in Hong Kong. These are unprecedented times in Hong Kong and some would argue it call for unprecedented maneuvers.
I have to go, but before I let you go, one quick question. Why didn't she just say I will withdraw this bill?
TONG: Well, I can't quite -- I can't quite understand that question. I can't -- I'm not really in a position to answer that question. I'm sure she has a reason but the way she put it today when you listen to what she said. She's putting in a more categorical position than simply withdrawing here.
I think one of the questions that she answered to the journalist who raised the question in Chinese (Inaudible)before she left the stage was this side of this question. And the way she answers was, she has said that if the bill is to be withdrawn as a matter or legislative process so it can always be reintroduced. So, she is now saying that in a more categorical way --
TONG: -- that this bill is dead.
NEWTON: OK. Understood.
TONG: That it would not come back within this administration.
NEWTON: Understood, Ronny. But, you know, as definitive as she tried to be there, as I said, there has not any kind of trust or compromise between the two sides at this point.
Ronny, I appreciate you taking the time with us on the phone.
We want to go now straight to Matt Rivers who joins us now from Beijing. And Matt, I'm sure you are listening into the reaction there. It's stunning to me that after trying to actually have some kind of compromise, to actually have a climb down that has shown some contrition, to have this heartfelt line that we have failed, that she's managed just seems to me, just escalate the situation?
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This seems to me to be just yet another step where the Carrie Lam administration does something, expecting presumably to help de-escalate the situation which is in their interest because getting all these hundreds of thousands of people out protesting on the streets calling for her resignation, challenging Beijing's eventual takeover of Hong Kong, that's not in their interest.
So, you would think they would be trying to take steps to de-escalate the process. Even if their long-term goals are not in, you know, they're not what the protestors want. You would think they would take steps in the meantime to assuage the situation, repeal the bill.
Why not just repeal the bill, why instead just essentially what you did a week ago, which is to say that the bill is suspended. Well now she said the bill is dead but it is still on the calendar.
I mean, there's still hundreds of days in this term where it could still eventually be brought up. And I'm not sure if Carrie Lam was expecting that protestors in Hong Kong were going to be assuage by her saying the bill is dead.
Well, that means they would have to take her at her word and her credibility has been shot for a long time now, especially over the past couple of weeks, Paula.
And so, and it's not the Hong Kong government that wants this, it's also Beijing. Beijing wants to see this protest die down. They do not want to see images of the legislative council room being taken over by protestors. They don't want to see millions of people in Hong Kong streets, grandmothers pushing strollers with 3-year-old kids in it holding up signs saying we want democracy and go Hong Kong. They don't want to see that either.
So, it's kind of remarkable to see the Lam administration take this step with this very predictable outcome of more protest set to happen.
NEWTON: Yes. And you make such a good point. Right? Beijing is looking at this now and saying it is a failure of leadership because she's, you know, failed utterly to de-escalate the situation.
Matt Rivers there for us in Beijing. I appreciate it.
Now Iran hasn't enriched enough uranium to build a bomb, but it may not be finished yet. Why its latest violation may be more about Europe than the U.S. That's coming up.
[03:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
NEWTON: The E.U. is now scrambling to defuse a standoff with Iran. France is sending a top diplomat to the country after the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed Iran is in fact enriching uranium beyond the limit set in 2015, in that 2015 nuclear deal.
Now the country is still a long way off from weapon's grade uranium but Tehran warns it could drastically increase enrichment even further in the next 60 days. Iran is pressuring E.U. countries to help ease U.S. sanctions after President Donald Trump abandoned the nuclear deal last year.
CNN's Fred Pleitgen was of course in Tehran, has been covering the story for us for several years, he joins me now live from Moscow. Fred, as far as Iran is concern, is this mission accomplished? They want to do this in order to get the attention of the Europeans, it seems like they got what they wanted?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'm sure they got the attention. I'm not sure if it's mission accomplished. I think for the Iranians, Paula, it would be mission accomplished if they got some sort of sanctions relief and if their economy stop tanking the way that it has been over the past couple of years really since the Trump administration put back in place those sanctions after it left the nuclear agreement.
But at least right now, it seems as though there is some sort of momentum going to at least try to talk maybe not directly between the Iranians and the U.S. but at least try to get some sort of intermediary ski going, if you will.
One of the interesting things that we saw with now that the French diplomat, top diplomat is going to, is going to Tehran. Is that, yesterday, last night, the French President Emmanuel Macron talked to President Trump on the phone. At least according to the U.S. readout, they apparently shared the concern as the White House put it that Iran does not achieve a nuclear deal.
Now, of course, the Iranians have been saying from the get-go that they don't want a nuclear weapon but as you say, they have been pressing along with the increasing the amount of, or the quality of their enriched uranium.
And it is quite interesting, you're absolutely right, they are, of course, still miles away from the kind of enrichment grade that they would need from a nuclear weapon which again, they say that they want in the first place.
But they had said yesterday that their next step if they don't get some sort of sanctions relief, if they're not happy, for instance, with what the Europeans are trying to do is that they could go to 20 percent enrichment and that's certainly would be a big step forward, Paula.
NEWTON: Yes. It's a story that we'll continue to watch especially now as France is engaging. Fred, thanks so much. I appreciate it.
U.S. President Donald Trump says the White House will no longer deal with the British ambassador to the United States.
Now in leaked diplomatic cables, you know, the language was anything but diplomatic, Kim Darroch called the Trump administration inept and clumsy. And he said the president, in his words, radiated in security.
Now in a series of tweets Monday, Mr. Trump also took the opportunity to renew criticism of Prime Minister Theresa May's handling of Brexit.
Max Foster joins us now from London. And in fact, this is turned into quite a diplomatic mess. Is it significant that Theresa May and the foreign office are standing by this ambassador, even though these cables were, as you say, incredibly candid and I'm sure the White House found them insulting?
MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, I think across the board the view is that the ambassador was just doing his job, he is asked for frank advice. These are secret cables, they're not meant to be published publicly, so he was just doing his job and it's something that's required of him.
So pretty much universal support for him as well. He is a very well- regarded diplomat. There is no chance, I think here in London of anyone saying that we're going to stand him down at this point, simply because you cannot have -- this is the view at least here in London -- you cannot have a host country dictating which ambassador supports that country.
This is a president that no country would particularly like to be crossed. It does leave them in a very difficult situation though, because we're not clear whether or not these tweets from Donald Trump is a (Inaudible) to his administration.
But Darroch is a persona non grata. If that is the case, then it's very hard for this ambassador to do his job. And you could argue that it has become untenable.
[03:20:02] But what to do as a result of that particularly we're in a state of flux in terms of leadership in this country is a difficult one to predict, Paula. NEWTON: Yes, absolutely. And how do you think it's going to end up
basically affecting relations given that, yes, you're going to have a new leader in the U.K. a new prime minister. That person is going to have to choose very carefully whether or not to keep this diplomat in place.
But as you said that might be untenable but even who to put in there next? Because I suspect you're going to have a fairly suspicious president on your hands right now?
FOSTER: Yes. So, it's a question of do you, you know, do you risk antagonizing the U.S. president by keeping this man imposed and damaging potentially the U.K.-U.S. relationship which is fundamental to the U.K. at the moment, particularly in the context of Brexit. Or do you stick by your civil service.
I think the view of Theresa May is she doesn't want to be the one to leave her legacy, the leader who got rid of a key ambassador. So, it's definitely going to be a decision for one of her successors, her successor and we'll see what they decide.
But effectively, this ambassador will be in place when Theresa May's successor comes into power that left to decide to ask him to retire or to get rid of him if they want to find a solution to this potentially.
NEWTON: Yes. And after Brexit you can add it to the to-do list. Our Max Foster there in London. I appreciate it.
Now a report of horrific conditions inside the U.S. detention centers ahead. What it took to get the story of overcrowding, disease, and unsanitary conditions for hundreds of migrants.
NEWTON: President Trump has called the New York Times report on conditions inside a Texas detention facility for migrants, a hoax.
The story released this weekend said "Outbreaks of scabies, shingles, and chicken pox were spreading among the hundreds of children and adults who were being held in cramped cells, agents said. The stench of the children's dirty clothing was so strong it spread to the agent's own clothing. People in town would scrunch their noses when they left work. The children cried constantly. One girl seemed likely enough to try to kill herself that the agents made her sleep on a cot in front of them, so they could watch her as they were processing new arrivals."
No, Monday, President Trump tweeted that the Times report was exaggerated and migrants shouldn't enter the country illegally only to have the U.S. take care of them.
Caitlin Dickerson is one of the reporters who wrote the article, she spoke with us about the girl who slept on the cot in front of the agents and how that made them feel.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CAITLIN DICKERSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: They were upset, they were disturbed and didn't want to be in the situation. I think what that anecdote says to me more than anything else is that these are law enforcement officers who aren't trained in child welfare and shouldn't be. They have an entirely separate job.
And so, we've heard from people who really felt like they were doing their best who were uncomfortable and very unhappy in what they were seeing at work every day but who weren't being put in a position to be able to succeed, first and foremost because they're not trained to care for children who have an extreme psychological issues like the one that you were describing.
[03:24:56] And these agents also said that they raised the alarm with supervisors. They said we have too many people here, we can't fit anyone else and we need to figure out a way to transport children out of this facility and then said the opposite happened. More continued to come.
When you talk about the sanitation issues you have to envision that these are children who'd crossed the border weeks prior. And yet, they were still wearing the exact same clothes that they cross the border and many of them. Many had no showers over weeks, some even up to a month. Many were not able to brush their teeth at all, maybe one or two times if they were lucky.
And so, people had clothing. The lawyers who visited the facility described the children they interviewed who had food and who had, you know, mucus because they were sick just crushed on to their clothes.
And so, you know, when you have hundreds of kids who are in that situation, of course there's a stench, and of course it's significant enough that it goes on to the clothes of the people who were working the facility, and even after when they go home and try to take a shower, you know, it was just that dirty.
NEWTON: Caitlin, the administration has given a lot of pushback here. I want you to hear from Chief Aaron Hull who is, of course, in charge of that sector in El Paso where Clint is. Take a listen.
AARON HULL, CHIEF U.S. BORDER PATROL AGENT, EL PASO SECTOR: Every two days, these children are getting offered a shower facility. Now we cannot make them shower. We can take them to the shower and we can put them there but we can't physically make them shower.
It's the same thing with brushing their teeth. We encounter children who have never brush their teeth. We had a lot of agents had to teach them basic hygiene.
No, these are not denied. This is no secret, that all of these aspects of food, water, hygiene, showers, laundry, were monitored in all of this. These things are documented.
(END VIDEO CLIP) NEWTON: Caitlin, your reaction to that considering the fact the, you
know, you spoke to dozens of people here.
DICKERSON: I think what agent Hull is describing is a goal, and it's in fact a standard that may be maintained in many other border patrol facilities but certainly not in this one.
And remember, we're not just going based on the accounts of lawyers who visited the facility and of lawmakers who visited the facility. We're also going based on the accounts of course of the border patrol agents who work there of inspector general reports from the Department of Homeland Security.
All of the allegations that have been made about the circumstances inside Clint when we talk about over all things like hygiene, things like children not having enough food to eat. Things like children not having anywhere to sleep, having to sleep on a concrete floor.
We've gotten now four, five or six different versions of the same account including from the agency's own inspector general. So, I think we need to reach a point where we acknowledge the circumstances in Clint, and we acknowledge that they weren't ideal.
It's not what the border patrol is hoping to achieve but it's clear at this point that there are just many ways in which that facility was lacking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: And that was CNN contributor and New York Times national immigration reporter Caitlin Dickerson.
Well, thanks for joining us here on CNN Newsroom. Inside Africa is next.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Inside Africa. In association with Zenith Bank.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: More than 30 years ago, South African singing sensation's Ladysmith Black Mambazo, unleashed on the world a style of music known as isicathamiya.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a good group that I can look up to.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A uniquely South African sound that poses with vibrant voices and moving rhythm. It's forged from a fascinating harmony and history.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This music isicathamiya, it was born a long time ago on the minds.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today, these songs can be heard in halls across the country, were local groups gather to sing together and to stand out, but as these coral contests become fewer and farther between, this life affirming music that has attracted audiences around the globe is in danger of dying out here at home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The music is on the verge of extinction.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very important to keep this music alive, because it represents us and it also tells the story of our country, of are people, in our own way.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the future of isicathamiya, this is Inside Africa.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: KwaZulu-Natal province on South Africa's east coast is home to music that is both familiar and mysterious.
Equal parts emotion, and personal expression, it is a choral tradition that has a rich history.
Isicathamiya geographical roots can be traced to the rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal.
[03:35:00] For decades, men left from here and traveled to work in the mines and factories of South Africa's industrial heartland.
SAZI DLAMINI, MUSICOLOGIST: Isicathamiya itself, original is a phenomenon of big industrial cities and towns, where by males, where house and seniors hostiles (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was on the weekend after backbreaking days underground, that these miners returned to their living quarters, where this unique vocal style began.
ALBERT MAZIBUKO, LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO: One day, on a day off, which was on Sunday, so they were missing home and so they tried to entertain themselves.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Legend has it that these singalongs became increasingly loud as percussive stomping was added in. Mine managers, apparently, did not approve.
MAZIBUKO: So, they stop stomping and they started to tiptoe, but they do the same action that they used to do, and then when they take this kind of dancing back home, people at home, they prayed the dancing they like, it is like, wow, this is so good, now they are not stopping anymore, so they tiptoe, they praising it by saying (inaudible), it means tiptoe guys. So the music became isicathamiya.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The one group most identified with this vocal style is Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Formed over half a century ago, the idea is said to have come to founder Joseph Shabalala in a dream.
MAZIBUKO: He said his dream stayed with him for six months, just imagine every night when you go to sleep you dream the same dream every night. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The group quickly gained a following and
released their debut album in 1973. It enjoyed constant radio play and embarked them on a prolific career.
MAZIBUKO: What we are doing is that we record some three albums a year up until 1985 when we had this somebody was looking for (inaudible) from America.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: U.S. Artist Paul Simon was that somebody.
MAZIBUKO: When they came, they said I don't want to change you, I want you as it is. So, I think that was fortunate for Ladysmith Black Mambazo that he that we are introduced to the world as we are.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ladysmith Black Mambazo is not just the best known isicathamiya group in the world, they've also become synonymous with the music. Long seen as a male dominated art form, but this is changing.
Inqaba Yevangeli, is an all-woman ensemble helping carve out more inclusive image for isicathamiya.
LINDOKUHLE MBUMBE, INQABA YEVANGELI: I mean from Ingaba Yevangeli from (inaudible). So, it was just me, my mom, and my aunts. We found another woman who like to sing with us, some people they get to know us, and we started to grow and make some singing for us.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It started as a church group, the music became their passion, and they were soon entering local competitions. These ladies compete on equal terms with their male counterparts.
MOSES MCOBOTHI, COMPETITION ORGANIZER: You see the woman singing isicathamiya, and they've got a good voice, like a man, just because they love what they did, those ladies, they are very strong.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So the biggest challenge for this music is that it is not accessible enough to the youth.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ahead, a young voices into the future of isicathamiya.
[03:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All the way from South Africa, Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For more than 30 years, Ladysmith Black Mambazo has served as global ambassadors for the uniquely South Africans style of singing known as isicathamiya.
The music, and its mission, still continues. Here in Umlazi Township in KwaZulu-Natal at the Mason Lincoln special school, for the physically challenged and intellectually impaired, the teacher Mhlonipheni Gumede rehearses with his group, the Green Berets.
MHLONIPHENI GUMEDE, GREEN BERETS: Our music changes, started at Mason Lincoln, we used to seeing trying to imitate Ladysmith Black Mambazo, singing their songs, you know, that is how it came about.
My group has got nine members, including myself. We are all disabled, physically disabled.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The group have refused to let their physical challenges get in the way of their love of this physically demanding style of acapella singing.
GUMEDE: In terms of disability, our group is different, but I think the passion, the passion of music and trust in god, I think drive us to make things happen. It gives hope to people, especially those who are living with disabilities.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ladysmith Black Mambazo had a huge influence on South African music and inspired the formation of many groups like the Green Berets, their ability to introduce isicathamiya to the world however came largely thanks to their willingness to collaborate with legendary singer songwriter Paul Simon.
GUMEDE: I would say Paul Simon was an opener, to say OK, you can wear it, with the lyrics, with the instruments, it can still work.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His openness to collaboration has continued, in 2012, American opera singer Thomas Hampson traveled from Zurich to Zulu land to work with the group.
Hampson, who like Mambazo, had won multiple Grammy's, was drawn to the authenticity.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we all know, first and foremost, because we work with Paul Simon.
These guys are so incredible, just knowing something about these gentlemen and where they are from, and why they sing, I think we are going to have a great meeting of hearts and souls.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After touring the township and very stage where they got their start in local singing competitions, they easily found musical common ground.
THOMAS HAMPSON, OPERA SINGER: We are musicians, we all swim in the same river, we have different wells, but we all swim in the same river, and these guys, they just sing with such a heart.
[03:45:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Despite its iconic significance in South Africa, and its popularity internationally, isicathamiya is a musical genre in danger of disappearing, here at home. Many say its future will depend on young voices.
MAZIBUKO: We encourage the young ones, and then we teach them, and then we tell them even the history of this music, and the challenge that they might face, and then how to make it happen. So that is are mission now, because we want this music to live forever.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible) is an artist, writer and producer, but most significantly perhaps, a passionate isicathamiya educator. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we passed away, the music will be gone, so
this is where I started to say look, let's teach this music and I remember one time when I went to schools, the principal use to laugh at me and chase me away, because I was bringing something they have never heard before.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chris is now welcomed in schools and also conduct workshops with members of established groups, including his own, Durban Black Drifters.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The workshop deals mainly with compositions, with lyrics, with singing techniques, it tries to instill to these youngsters, look, this is our music, you cannot ignore it, because if we don't teach them, then the music is gone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible), has also established an annual competition for choirs from high schools across the province which takes place at the playhouse, a theater complex in central Durban.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All these schools from Durban and the surrounding and other parts of KwaZulu-Natal will be coming and complete and showcase this what we've been practicing all these years.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Simphiwe Mhlongo, is one of the young men who took part in these competitions.
He leads the group uBen 10.
SIMPHIWE MHLONGO, UBEN 10: Today, I meet the guy from (inaudible). The guys that I work with them now. People from 11 years, up to 21, 24.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Many of the group are students here, at this high school. Some live under difficult circumstances.
MHLONGO: Some of them, they come with empty stomach, they don't have food from home, so I cook for them, I cook everything.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: While these youngsters represent the future of isicathamiya, the Zulu messages are very much here and now.
Every Thursday night, this veteran group can be found in a (Inaudible), township north of Durban. They gather to rehearse in an apartment stairwell, much to the delight of residence young and old.
One of Durban's best known ensembles, the Zulu messengers, a regulars in the competitions around the city.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All the groups, different places, from (inaudible), all the places they come together to sing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ahead, we go behind the scenes at an all-night isicathamiya competition, and see where one of the greats got their styles.
[03:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As the sun sets over the Claremont Mount
townships outside Durban on South Africa's East Coast, and all night isicathamiya competition is about to begin. Carrying on a tradition that stretches back over 50 years, it's being staged at the same hall where one of the country's biggest musical experts, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, first got its start.
SIBONGISENI SHABALALA, LADYSMITH MAMBAZO: The isicathamiya groups, they come together in some halls, around town, they are in the townships. And they do the competitions, it will be like, 10 or 20 groups, and there will be at stake and may be going to win a gold, may be going to win a cow, but it's just a way of entertaining themselves, because they are working all week, and then they are rehearsing, and then they come together during the weekend and do these competitions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Moses, is one of the organizers of this event.
MOSES MCOBOTHI, COMPETITION ORGANIZER: We are expecting plus or minus to 30 groups to perform on that night. So it's a very important to respect everyone, it's very important to please everyone, to make sure everyone is right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Competitions like this do offer prize money, but it's very much an afterthought for these groups.
CHRIS NTULI, EDUCATOR AND COMPOSER: Prices used to vary from golds, from a little bit of cash, but now it is changed, and you can see people, choirs winning 10,000 rems.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Early evening, groups arrive at the venue.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of them are not even in a performing attire, they still have those, (inaudible) they stopped by rehearsing, see the small groups that of the venue, or at a corner of the venue.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As the groups get dressed, it soon becomes apparent how important attire is to attitude.
MHLONGO: It's isicathamiya, you can't wear a t-shirt or anything you like, you have to wear suits and tie or bow tie.
NTULI: So, if they say a group is coming from Pagane, they will have a certain style of their jackets and coats and suits that they will be wearing, which will be different from a group that will be coming from Ladysmith, so the issue of identity, with the suits, with the coats, is very important, because it just tells the listener or the onlooker on stage that this choir is coming from a certain place.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Being well turned out isn't limited to just the groups on stage, competitions also feature a category known as the (Inaudible), for impeccably dressed men who aren't here to sing, but instead to show off their outfits.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) pointed their tie, you know, whatever, shoes, shiny shoes, just to get (inaudible).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is also, of course, the category for the ladies.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The women are modeling on stage. And there will be also the guys. The guys showing their choices. Then we start the competition.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Another truly unique feature of this competitions is the process of selecting a judge.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They use to pick anybody. Just random strangers, whether they can sing or dance, just pick up even -- like street passers. Especially if you don't know the music, because there are some that you will be quite, you know, impassion.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Once in position, he is left alone.
Following a draw that determines the order in which the groups will perform, the youngsters from uBen 10 are first up.
[03:55:00] Ingaba Yevangeli, then take the stage and immediately remind the audience why they have become the shining example for other women.
The music's ability to connect people is evident as soon as the Green Berets start their performance.
GUMEDE: When people look at us, first they say, I wonder what they're going to do on stage, and you know what, they rushed to the stage, giving us chance, because they feel that we cannot stand and sing, only to find that, we can stand three hours performing nonstop.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Finally, well into the night, the Zulu Messengers leader makes a dramatic entrance, halfway into their set.
The experience pays off and they are later rewarded with third place overall.
The eventual winners, the lucky boys, had risen the crowd and live up to their name, receiving an almost perfect score from the anonymous judge. As the night winds down, everyone leaves with a renewed hope that this music which has become such an integral part of Zulu culture will continue to endure.