Apr 5, 2013 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff WriterThe Kuyasa Kids children's choir from the Kayamandi township in South Africa visited Wyoming this week with a message of hope and overcoming sorrow and loss through song.
The choir has toured throughout the United States for the past nine years, and although this was their second time visiting Wyoming, it was their first time in Riverton.
As part of their spring tour, the choir members were invited by the United Baptist Church, Set Free Church and St. John Lutheran Church to perform Wednesday in Riverton.
The choir is a group of young children and teenagers, some orphans and some not, who tour in the hope of finding sponsorship for thousands of children who have become orphaned by HIV/AIDS.
"The goal is to help other orphans get sponsored and bring hope," said Winston Clark, a field representative from Horizon International who travels with the choir. Horizon International is a non-profit Christian relief and development organization that is dedicated to helping people affected by HIV/AIDS.
"When you're doing what God calls you to do, then people join," Clark said. "A lot of people have different opinions about AIDS, but these are the innocent victims."
He said that any sponsorship goes a long way because the orphans stay with family members and not in an orphanage. In order to go to school in their town, they have to pay.
"These orphans would never ever get to go to school," Clark said. "Their relatives don't have the money."
The choir began in Worland, performed Thursday in Thermopolis and plans to be in Casper and Douglas in the upcoming days.
"I just thought it would be a great honor," said Richard Mills, the pastor of Set Free Church about bringing the choir to perform in Riverton.
Marshall Dean Whitaker of the United Baptist Church stressed the importance of the gospel being the best way to bring effective change to people who need help in their lives.
"The only solution we have for the social ills in Africa and for Riverton, in that matter, is the gospel," Whitaker said. "You're never going to solve it by throwing money at it."
Whitaker hoped to show members of the church and the rest of the community how this choir lives through the gospel and spreads the message of hope.
"This gives us an opportunity to share the gospel in Riverton in a way where they can actually see the difference that it's making somewhere else," he said. "And that's one of the best things that we can do as part of this community."
The choir consists of 35 performers from the Xhosa tribe who rehearse three days a week year round. Eighteen came to the United States for the tour. Clark said the large crowds of people attending the concerts have been very welcoming. The choir members perform songs in English and in the Xhosa language.
Horizon developed a community center in their town where the children participate in performing arts and sports and can come in to do their homework.
"These kids come to this center every day after school," Clark said. "We try to communicate the gospel and help people at the same time."
Qhama Ndaleni, 16, leads the choir in some songs. Ndaleni recently was left without a home after it burned down, along with more than 900 other homes, a week before the group left South Africa to tour. Still, he said he was glad he came to tour in the United States and said the best part was meeting new people and seeing different places. Clark added that the choir members have been really enjoying the food and extra meals.
The group also will visit Nebraska, Colorado and South Dakota.
Anyone interested in donating can visit www.horizoninternation
alinc.com or call 866-778-7020.
Get your copy of The Ranger online, every day! If you are a current print subscriber and want to also access dailyranger.com online (there is nothing more to purchase) including being able to download The Mining and Energy Edition, click here. Looking to start a new online subscription to dailyranger.com (even if it is for just one day)? Access our secure SSL encrypted server and start your subscription now by clicking here.