Woolworths teams up with South Africa’s most famous choir, the Soweto Gospel Choir, to create a singing flashmob at one of their stores in the country to commemorate the death of one of South Africa’s most recognizable anti-apartheid freedom fighters - and the country’s first democratically elected president - Nelson Mandela.
As beautiful as the choir’s rendition of ‘Asimbonanga’ is, this blatant marketing stint from one of SA’s largest retail stores just doesn’t sit well with me, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. Is it the fact that they made them dress up as Woolies employees (there’s no shame in being a Woolies employee) when the choir is distinctly known for always wearing their traditional South African garments when performing? Or the fact that Woolies has a mostly white and upper-class clientele that taints this sort of performance, giving it an almost minstrel-y effect? I don’t know. Maybe I’m being too cynical. Either way, no amount of beautiful singing could make me feel whatever it was that Woolies was trying to make listeners feel.