Song­bird Lira (pic­tured) and co­me­dian Loy­iso Gola got lost in KZN, and are now get­ting the most hits on YouTube for the song they made while there.

Celebs meet chal­lenge to show their best tal­ents and the abil­i­ties of new Mercedes-Benz SUVs

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE -

THE Chi­nese zo­diac has 2015 as the year of the horse, which is quite fit­ting as this was also the year when Mercedes-Benz com­pleted its SUV range with all-new ad­di­tions — the pop­u­lar GLA, the lux­u­ri­ous GLC, the lux­u­ri­ous GLE and two coupé ver­sions of the GLC and the GLE.

Wheels drove the sport util­ity ve­hi­cles over Namibia’s rough­est ter­rain, from rocky ravines to the steep dunes where the lat­est (and some would say best ever) Mad Max was filmed, so we know they can do 4x4.

We also diced a plane from Oribi Air­port in Pi­eter­mar­itzburg to Pre­to­ria North, to prove that for jour­neys un­der 500 km, the car is al­ways faster, even with a burn­ing truck block­ing all but one lane on Van Ree­nen’s Pass. Learn­ing about the kilo­me­tres-long queue of parked trucks on the N3TC’s Twit­ter ac­count, we turned off to Lady­smith and aimed the GLC down the fan­tas­tic new tar road that now com­prises most of De Beers Pass and en­joyed the trac­tion on the smooth dirt sec­tions.

To show the abil­i­ties of th­ese ve­hi­cles on any type of South African ter­rain, Mercedes-Benz SA also sent sev­eral celebri­ties to far-flung places.

Singers, co­me­di­ans, fash­ion de­sign­ers, chefs, mu­si­cians and more went to very un­fa­mil­iar ter­rain and were chal­lenged to do what they do best in 48 hours. The re­sult­ing films are up­loaded on YouTube and Merc in­formed Wheels the YouTube clip from th­ese ad­ven­tures with the most down­loads is that made by song­bird Lira and co­me­dian Loy­iso Gola.

They toured to north­ern KwaZu­luNatal in a GLE Coupé a year ago, where they beau­ti­fully re-imag­ined a tra­di­tional Zulu song. Lira first recorded chil­dren in the Myeni com­mu­nity singing, but the per­fec­tion­ist pro­ducer wanted more tex­ture for the song.

With the clock tick­ing to­wards the 48hour mark, Gola drove about all over north­ern KZN’s steep hills in the GLE with Lira look­ing for the miss­ing in­gre­di­ents that would make the song ex­tra­or­di­nary. When they passed a church on the road, Loy­iso found Eric Ng­cobo, a gui­tarist, in­side, who was happy to back Lira on his gui­tar.

Next Lira needed a back­ing beat to make the old ru­ral song more con­tem­po­rary. She called her pro­ducer, Robin Kohl, for help. In the mean­time, she lis­tened to the song again and re­alised the lo­cal kids’ voices were not clear. Gola phoned Jus­tice from the Myeni com­mu­nity. “[Could] the kids who helped in­spire the song join them for an­other record­ing?”

Jus­tice sug­gested they meet in the Mkuze for­est. With only 30 min­utes left, and the back­ing track mixed with the gui­tar track ar­riv­ing by e-mail, the duo lis­tened to the mix on the GLE Coupé’s sound sys­tem.

In the for­est, the chil­dren’s voices car­ried over the trees. Gola recorded the sounds as the fi­nal sec­onds ran out, but they con­sid­ered they had pro­duced the best song they could in 48 hours us­ing the re­sources avail­able to them.

“It was a big chal­lenge but I am very proud of my­self and Loy­iso. We did it! We have an awe­some song and I can’t wait to share it with you all,” Lira said.

In Namibia, world-renowned fash­ion de­signer Craig Jacobs and ac­tress Lerato Kganyago, driv­ing in lux­ury in their GLC, drew in­spi­ra­tion from the dunes of the Namib Desert to cre­ate be­spoke African cou­ture.

Cricket leg­end Mark Boucher and chef ex­traor­di­naire Marthi­nus Fer­reira jour­neyed to the Wild Coast in the GLE to pre­pare a sig­na­ture three-course meal. And when the le­gendary G Class brought pho­tog­ra­pher Adrian Steirn and lion whis­perer Kevin Richard­son to­gether, they cap­tured what could sadly be the fu­ture of our con­ti­nent’s mag­nif­i­cent wild lions. Their haunt­ing im­age has been fea­tured in me­dia the world over.

The most re­cent episode has iconic trum­peter Hugh Masekela and MiCasa front­man J’Some­thing talk­ing the lan­guage of mu­sic as they drove along the Gar­den Route in the new GLS.

Their task was to record an orig­i­nal song, which re­sulted in Heaven in You with its haunt­ing lyrics that tell of Hugh’s love for his home­land de­spite his ex­ile dur­ing the coun­try’s trou­bled past.

“Th­ese films cel­e­brate our cul­ture and di­ver­sity, and also show­case our ve­hi­cles’ ca­pa­bil­i­ties,” said Selvin Goven­der, mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor, Mercedes-Benz Cars.

“We’re high­light­ing our coun­try’s en­com­pass­ing beauty and bring­ing home what South Africans love about their coun­try while we po­si­tion MercedesBenz SUVs as lux­ury ve­hi­cles for the South African jour­ney.”

Goven­der added that the genes from the iconic G-Class are car­ried into each of the cur­rent Mercedes-Benz SUVs, mak­ing them the best on ev­ery ter­rain.

The fi­nal #EveryTer­rain video will be re­leased for to­mor­row’s Her­itage Day.

— Wheels Re­porter.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

Just a lit­tle lost: Lerato Mo­lapo, aka Lira, and co­me­dian Loy­iso Gola re­made a tra­di­tional Zulu song in north­ern KwaZulu-Natal as part of a Mercedes-Benz cam­paign to show the abil­i­ties of its range of sport util­ity ve­hi­cles.

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