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29:11 International Exchange is a unique South African music group with a mission to facilitate hope and reconciliation through music, cross-cultural collaboration, and individual artist development.
29:11 has no political or religious agenda. Our universal message in centered around the ancient African concept of Ubuntu. Ubuntu roughly translates to "humanity to others", meaning recognition that a person is who they are because of others. Ubuntu means recognizing that each of us is worthy of understanding and love, and that we can use compassion to heal and transcend barriers that divide us because we are strongest together. We use music in a variety of ways to inspire and cultivate Ubuntu, one group at a time.
Our message is truly one of universal humanity, not of religion. Our name is rooted in scripture; specifically the book Jeramiah chapter 29, verse 11: “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans toprosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” 29:11
Founder, Brendon Adams recalls his mother often sighting this verse when
circumstances rendered him hopeless as a child growing up amidst violence and
poverty in South Africa. The effect of God’s word is powerful, and this verse
would always raise Brendon’s spirits. 29:11 International Exchange aims to lift up
its members and audiences with the call to a higher purpose, and greater love.
Brendon Adams, Artistic Director
Brendon was born and raised in the Elsies River, a township just west of Cape Town, South Africa. Growing up in apartheid South Africa, Brendon was surrounded by poverty, oppression, violence, and fear. Even amongst this darkness, Brendon was able to find hope and light through his relationship with God, and his musical gifts. Brendon drew inspiration from the power of reconciliation, as modeled by Nelson Mandela. Despite his disadvantages, Brendon was able to rise above oppressive circumstances and forgive and love his neighbors who had hurt him. From that point on, Brendon has dedicated his life
to helping motivated youth in Cape Town begin to realize their immeasurable potential through the music and exchange opportunities of 29:11. In addition to being a Founder, Brendon serves as the Artistic Director of 29:11.
“Reconciliation is messy. It’s hard work but we can approach it with a spirit of forgiveness and love. We can invite others to sing with us, pray with us, heal with us.”
- Brendon Adams, 29:11 Co-Founder and Artistic Director
Gaylene made her first trip to South Africa in 1996. After only 12 days, the township children had captured Gaylene’s heart and she felt called to return. Gaylene returned to Cape Town in 1998 to coordinate a successful program for youth and children. It was during this time that Gaylene met Brendon, and the two realized their shared passion for music, cultural exchange, and children/youth. They married in 2000 and came back to Cape Town in 2002 to run what began as New Hope International Exchange in Elsies River. Brendon and Gaylene currently live in Minnesota, and make regular trips to Cape Town. Their organization, now called “29:11 International Exchange” also brings a select group of young Cape Town musicians to the USA to perform and engage in cultural exchange. Gaylene also serves as Treasurer on the 29:11 Board of Directors.
Rev. Claire M Klein, MT-BC,
tour liaison and coordinator
Claire had the joy of traveling to South Africa with the Minnesota Chorale, Orchestra and 29:11 in 2018. This experience inspired Claire to become an indispensable member of the 29:11 team. Leveraging her strong network of musicians and churches, Pastor Claire has graciously assisted 29:11 in organizing collaborations with churches, schools, arts organizations, and other communities throughout the Midwest.
For booking inquiries, please reach out to Claire at email@example.com