Mike Bhayibhile – A passion for classical music and performing 

Published: July 16th, 2020
Wandisile's Plett - A blog by Wandisile Sebezo

Wandisile’s Plett

A blog by Wandisile Sebezo.

Plett’s Mike Bhayibhile talks 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.

Mike Bhayibhile performing at Plett ARTS Festival 2020
Mike Bhayibhile performing at Plett ARTS Festival 2020

Plett ARTS Festival held its first ever virtual festival this year due to COVID-19. It ran from the 19th to the 30th June under the theme “La Vida Local”, where local artists seized the opportunity to shine.

Like all artist out there, Mike is also suffering the consequences brought about by this virus where being able to put bread on the table is a nightmare. He reminisces about the pre-covid time where, as an artist, he was able to support his family, and like the rest of us wishes COVID-19 could be a thing of the past.

Mike Bhayibhile has worked with the OR Tambo Choral Festival, the South African Tertiary Institute, and in 2017 his choir collaborated with the five time Grammy Awards winners Ladysmith Black Mambazo at Fort Hare University.

In a time where the creative industry is one of the hardest hit by the ravaging corona virus, let’s continue to support our artists the best way we can. Checkout the Plett Tourism website for Mike’s show at the recent Plett ARTS Festival.

Mike is available for bookings at mikebhayibhile@gmail.com or 068 172 1787.