In November 1949, 60 Mozambican miners died in a tragic accident on their way home to their families after a year's work on the mines. The steam train, derailed at Waterval Boven, on the treacherous edge of the escarpment where the Mpumalanga Highlands drops dramatically to the Lowveld.
To this day, families of the men return to Waterval Boven from Mozambique to honour their dead, and a memorial has been erected in the village graveyard. The character of Waterval Boven is forever influenced by the legacy of the railways and the importance this development bestowed on the town.
Waterval Boven has always been a railway town. The Nederlandsche Zuid Afrikaansche Spoorweg Maatschappij railway line reached Waterval Boven in 1894, opening up a direct line from Pretoria to the port of Lourenco Marques, known as the "Easternline" or "Oosterlijn".
The Waterval Boven United in the Arts Choir Festival Against Xenophobia kicks off in 2008 with the support of Eventáge, SAHRA, the Emakhazeni Tourism Association, local business as well as the Emakhazeni Local Municipality and thanks to their generous sponsorships; this event will soon become an annual national festival.
KORISA Norway (SA/Norway exchange programme for choral music appreciation) is interested in participating the 2009 event. The Mozambican Embassy has provided press coverage and there will be Consular attendance, also the presence of Mozambican choirs and a pledge to become further involved next year during the 60th anniversary of the accident.
This event that will take place on the 6 and 7 of December 2008 and will assist tourism development in this magnificent part of South Africa, as well as support the local community and businesses. It will also act as a reminder that xenophobia in our country is totally taboo and should be combated at all cost.