SAMRO Bursaries for African Music and Dance Students
Nine students of the College of Humanities won 2019 Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) Bursaries for study in music performance - each receiving cash towards their tuition fees or for funding their research.
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 staff members of Music departments of South African Higher Education Institutions.
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 the 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 opened this platform for us where we can find ourselves and share our talent and creativity with the world,’ she said
Mchunu, who hails from 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,’ she added.
Nhlenyama, who struggled to pay her tuition, 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,’ she said.
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 Master’s in Applied Ethnomusicology. The timing of the award is perfect as they will commence their fieldwork in July or August. Congratulations to all,’ she said.
Words: Melissa Mungroo
Photograph: Andile Ndlovu