16 July 2015

A GROUP of African performers who have made Sunderland their home for the past four months will be bidding the city a fond farewell with one final show.

The Lions of Zululand have been based in Sunderland while travelling around the UK to bring a taste of Zulu music and dance to schools.

The performers – who are all from remote villages in South Africa – have been in huge demand across the country to carry out one day workshops with young people and provide them with an insight into Zulu culture.

But before they return home the Lions will be giving a final show in Sunderland’s Market Square on July 23, as part of the regular Late Night Thursday shopping evenings.

The free performance will take place between 5.45pm to 6.15pm and will give visitors one last opportunity to see authentic Zulu dancers.

The show has been organised by the city’s Business Improvement District, as part of its regular programme of events to highlight Sunderland city centre as a great place to shop and spend leisure time.

On Thursdays shops throughout the city centre are open until 8pm, with council car parks free from 3pm and the Bridges car parks from 5.30pm.

“It’s fantastic that the Lions of Zululand have chosen to make Sunderland their temporary home while performing across the country,” said Ken Dunbar, Chief Executive of Sunderland BID.

“And the fact that we’ve been able to get their final performance before they return to South Africa in the city centre is great news.

“We hope as many people as possible turn up to see what will be a spectacular display.”

The Lions of Zululand have always had a strong relationship with the North East since the group first started coming to the UK more than a decade ago.

Booking for their performances are made through Gateshead-based Ginger Music Company, headed up by Christine Dowling, who found them a house in Sunderland to use as a base during their stay.

“We have really enjoyed Sunderland and the North East,” said Mdu Mkize, the founder of the group.

“The people are so friendly and everyone has had a fantastic time the city.”

After the performance the team will be going to Sunderland Civic Centre and meeting with Mayor of Sunderland, Cllr Barry Curran, to be officially thanked for staying in the city.