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SAMRO bursaries help almost 100 students

SAMRO bursaries help almost 100 students to ‘compose their future’

The Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) is paying it forward to nurture the musicians of tomorrow! This year, 99 music students at nine South African public universities will receive almost R1.2 million in bursaries from SAMRO to assist with their studies.

Most of the recipients of the SAMRO bursaries are from the University of Cape Town (24) and Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth (19), with the remainder studying at the universities of the Witwatersrand, Stellenbosch, KwaZulu- Natal, North West, Pretoria and Rhodes, as well as at the Tshwane University of Technology.

The SAMRO Foundation’s Managing Director, André le Roux, says the organisation is continually streamlining its music bursary application process. This year’s application form was available online from December 2017, giving students enough time to gather the required documents and submit their applications.

Several grateful recipients have written to SAMRO to express their delight and gratitude, with a Rhodes student saying the news was ‘music to my ears’, and a UKZN student noting that it was proof that ‘there’s absolutely nothing wrong with dreaming big’.

‘We’ve received countless letters of thanks from appreciative students, who now have some of the financial pressure lifted from their shoulders. It means the world to us as the Foundation to see how much these bursaries mean to them, as a solid investment in our future musicians and educators,’ Le Roux says.

Although most of this year’s recipients are second-year, third-year, fourth-year and Honours students, a significant number – 14 – are studying music at Master’s level.

One of the SAMRO Foundation’s focus areas is enriching the country’s body of indigenous music knowledge. Among the future scholars committed to achieving this goal is Wits Master’s student Thembela Ndesi, who won the R30 000 SAMRO Mzilikazi Khumalo special award for research into indigenous African music.

She writes: ‘I was elated and grateful to learn that I was selected as the recipient of your bursary… [which] has encouraged and motivated me to work even harder to produce quality research.

‘I hope to inspire, influence, impact and nurture growth in others as Professor Mzilikazi Khumalo has done and continues to do. I hope to one day emulate your generosity and assist students [in achieving] their dreams, just as you have supported me.’

Motswedi Modiba, another Wits student, has three siblings still at school, making it difficult for her parents to pay fees for all of them. She is now able to resume her studies, thanks to the SAMRO bursary. ‘What was once a mountain that seems impossible to climb is now a hill that I can conquer. I am eternally grateful to the SAMRO team!’

In expressing her gratitude, Rikalet Mostert from NMU says that this bursary will ‘really assist me in growing into the musician I want to be, with regards to being able to spend more time on developing my art and having to do fewer shifts in my day job in order to support my studies. I hope to have the honour, in the future, of being one of the musicians that promotes the name of SAMRO.’

Brownlee Dlulane, a second-year student at Wits, writes: ‘Thank you so much to the SAMRO team for watering the seed I am trying to grow. It is moments like these I will look back on in life and always be thankful for. SAMRO has officially played a huge role in the development of my career as a musician, and for this, I will always be grateful.’

On a lighter note, Nosihe Zulu from UKZN says: ‘I am so speechless! This is very rare coming from a loudmouth like me. SAMRO, I cried real ugly tears when I thought about what this means. This bursary means so much to me and it’s just so encouraging to hear that “someone out there believes in your dreams”.’

A Stellenbosch University student, Cornél Engelbrecht, writes: ‘Thank you so much for supporting an art that so many bursaries refuse to consider. Thank you for believing that studying music can be just as valuable to this country as being a doctor or engineer. Be assured that your tremendous contribution will not be in vain!’

Poignantly, Stellenbosch Master’s student Michelle Nell writes: ‘As a visually impaired postgraduate student who comes from a low-income household, I know full well how harsh reality can be, but also how absolutely life-changing fantastic opportunities such as this one will prove to be as a vital contribution toward my academic well-being and ultimate success as a qualified musician. So, on behalf of my entire family and myself, our humble and most heartfelt thank you for this much-needed financial award!’

The significance of the bursaries is summed up perfectly by Wits student Anwyll de Leeuw, who says: ‘With this contribution towards my student fees, the worry of finances is reduced, allowing me to focus more clearly on musicianship mastery, where someday I hope that I too can make an impact with my music and knowledge gained in our South African communities.’

A complete list of all bursary recipients is available on www.samrofoundation.org.za CF