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By Bonginkosi Tiwane

Digital Journalist

WATCH: Pretty Yende’s moving performance at King Charles’ coronation

Opera singer Pretty Yende was the toast of South Africa at this past weekend’s Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla at Westminster Abbey. She became the first African singer to perform solo for the coronation of a British monarch.

Dressed in a bright yellow custom couture dress made by French designer Stephane Rolland, specifically for her performance at the Coronation, Pretty Yende performed Sarah Class’ The Sacred Fire to a global audience watching the royal event.

The South African-born soprano made history by being the first African singer to perform solo for the coronation of a British monarch.

“Thank you so much to each and everyone for all your joyful, generous and celebratory wishes and messages. Your support means so much to me, always,” Yende wrote on her Instagram after the performance.

“Thank you to my #PrettyArmy, my amazing artistic team, I love them all so so much. Today, for me, will go down in the history #PrettyJourney.”

Pretty proud South Africans

Professor Thuli Madonsela and Felicia Mabuza-Suttle were some of the many proud South Africans congratulating the vocalist on social media.

Yende is a renowned South African operatic soprano living in and working in Europe. She has performed leading roles at opera houses internationally, including La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera.

She graduated from the University of Cape Town and completed her post-graduate degree at La Scala’s prestigious academy.

In a 2014 interview on Top Billing, Yende revealed that she was the first black artist to ever be invited into the fold at La Scala. Prior to her arrival, the opera house had never had a black artist perform there.

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In February, Buckingham Palace announced that 12 newly commissioned pieces of music will be performed at the coronation, which would showcase “musical talent from across the UK and the Commonwealth”.

It’s understood that King Charles has been personally involved in overseeing various aspects of the event’s music programme.

As a big fan of classical music, the king has commissioned world-class composers from a range of fields including classical, sacred, film, television and musical theatre.

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Other South Africans at the Coronation

With President Cyril Ramaphosa unable to attend the coronation due to other commitments, other South Africans flew the country’s flag.

Benoni-born Princess of Monaco, Charlene Lynette Wittstock attended with her husband Prince Albert ll. BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing’s Oti Mabuse had the pleasure of speaking about the royal’s love for dancing in a pre-recorded video that was aired at the concert celebrating the coronation, on Sunday.

“To have spoken about the love the King and Queen have for dance ♥️ going to be honest, heard the strictly music and didn’t think it would be me talking about the royals- heck! Even being ASKED 🙏 is mind blowing!!! But a honour I will accept 💜 hope you enjoy the concert as much as we did and enjoyed your bank weekend,” the UK-based dancer wrote on her Instagram.

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