Singer from South African township signs record deal

21 June 2013, 09:59 | Updated: 5 August 2014, 17:10

Growing up in poverty-stricken South Africa in the 1980s, Pumeza Matshikiza's dream of becoming a singer has come true now she's signed a contract with Decca.

South African soprano Pumeza Matshikiza is making history today, signing a record contract with classical record label Decca Classics. After being told she had no future as a singer in South Africa, she came to the UK, where she has performed as part of the Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera House.

After growing up in a South African township as the apartheid regime was coming to an end, Pumeza saw opera as her way out of the poverty and violence. She auditioned for the South African College of Music, and went on to win a full scholarship at the Royal College of Music after a South African composer bought her plane ticket to London.

The album, due for release at the end of the year, will tell the story of Pumeza's journey from Africa to Europe, with repertoire ranging from traditional songs in her native language of Xhosa, to arias by Mozart and Puccini. Paul Mealor is also writing a new song, dedicated to Nelson Mandela, to feature on the release.