The students are Ms Nobuhle Myeni, Ms Nomthandazo Makhanya, Ms Qondeni Hlenyama, Ms Slindile Dlamini, Ms Zoliswa Michelle Mchunu, Ms Lihle James, Ms Nomfundo Zuma, Mr Siphamandla Ngcobo and Ms Nothando Maphumulo.
The bursaries, given annually to students in special recognition of their achievements, are available to those who specialise in music performance in the African Indigenous, Jazz and Western Art/Classical genres. Candidates for the bursaries are nominated by the heads and relevant members of staff of music departments of South African institutions of higher education from among the ranks of their students.
The candidates are required to show merit in the field of performance in one or more of the genres and winners are chosen by the Artistic Committee of the SAMRO Foundation which takes into consideration criteria such as standard of performance, year of study and perceived financial need.
Maphumulo went against her father’s wishes to study law, instead following her passion and studied African Music and Dance (AMD) at UKZN. ‘I didn’t have that much knowledge about my tradition and culture. I was on a journey of self-discovery. I’m grateful that there are people like senior AMD lecturer Dr Patricia Opondo, who open this platform for us where we can find ourselves and share our talent and creativity with the world.’
Mchunu of Hammarsdale considers the bursary a blessing. ‘Through music, I am finding myself, especially on a spiritual level. Playing the umakhweyana bow helps me connect with my ancestors. I have taught my sisters to play ensuring my culture continues.’
Nhlenyama, who struggled to pay her fees, is grateful to the sponsors for giving her the opportunity to continue her studies. ‘I come from a rural settlement. With this funding, I aim to build my career and change my family’s life. I will work hard and continue to excel. These bursaries make such a big difference to those who come from poor backgrounds.’
Said Opondo: ‘It’s a great joy that so many AMD students are awarded SAMRO bursaries – special congratulations to Nothando who not only receives merit certificates each semester but is on the Dean’s Commendation list too. She is certainly among our strongest performers and equally strong in her academic subjects.
‘We are also grateful that several postgraduate students received SAMRO bursaries to assist them with their fieldwork. Two who received BA Honours Bursaries have gone on to study for their Masters in Applied Ethnomusicology – the timing of the award is perfect as they will commence their fieldwork in July/August. Congratulations to all.’