Testimony Profiles

Emmanuela Machozi Yogolelo – lead vocalist

Emmanuela is a Congolese vocalist and singer, with two daughters, who lives in Manchester. She sought asylum in Britain in 2003 fleeing persecution in DR Congo. On arrival in Britain, as a woman of 27, she was alone without family or community, with no contacts and unable to speak English. Through her own determination and hard work she has since forged a new life for herself, has learnt to speak fluent English in a remarkably short space of time and has tirelessly worked on a voluntary basis supporting other people, especially women. Emmanuela is an active member of local church and community organisations in Manchester.

Emmanuela has been singing from the age of six in church choirs and other bands in her native DR Congo. Since moving to Manchester became a founder member and lead vocalist with the popular African Gospel singing group Testimony and is a member of the acclaimed Beating Wing Orchestra. Emmanuela also undertook training with Community Arts North West as part of the Exodus Refugee Arts programme and now regularly assists in organizing and facilitating their arts workshops.  She believes in the power of helping others and community organising, saying:

I’m an immigrant; I’m a refugee; I’m black and I’m a mother. Community is at the very heart of everything that we do in Testimony. Music tells the story of my life. I hope that my singing can reach out to people everywhere and help them to find their own path through change.

Sandra Belezika

Sandra is also a vocalist from DR Congo. She has been in the UK, living in Manchester for over 10 years, and is seeking asylum here. She is active in her local community and church, and has also been involved in promoting world music on community radio stations in Manchester. She is an inspirational character, overcoming adversity and difficult personal circumstances with grace and good humour and has strong religious beliefs. She says:

Music is a passion to me. It is where I express myself, whether I’m happy or sad. So, for me, singing is more than just music: It is a ministration – I administer to people’s hearts and people’s souls, to lift them up and to console their hearts; to make an impact on people. I like, when I’m singing my songs, to be remembered on people’s lips and in their hearts.

Mimi Kalumba

Mimi is originally from DR Congo, but has since lived in Zambia and has been settled in Manchester for some years. A prominent vocalist and churchgoer, Mimi is a dedicated community volunteer, who puts her heart into supporting other women and children. She describes her love of music:

Music is like medicine for the soul. I started singing because I was inspired by hearing music in church and I would love to pass on that inspiration to others.

Serge Tebu – Album Producer

Coming to the UK from Cameroon in 2007, Serge Tebu had only the love of music with which to find his place in the community. As a composer and band leader he wanted to combine his skill and experience with other musicians from different musical influences who each have a desire to show that people from a variety of backgrounds can work and play together. Serge plays piano and keyboard, is a member of the Beating Wing Orchestra and is the founder member of Kokoriko an African/Jazz/Blues fusion band based in Manchester. Serge plays in a variety of styles.


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