Dean and Head of the School of Arts Professor Nobuhle Hlongwa said: ‘I encourage students to continue to work hard, to pursue your studies further and to take advantage of the scholarship and funding opportunities available. The School will always support you.’
Offering advice to students, Media Studies lecturer Ms Luthando Ngema said: ‘The Arts are always needed, despite the limited funding we receive. Arts deserves more recognition because of our creativity and innovation and we should continue, as creatives, to fight for our space.’
Student Mr Siphamandla Ngcobo (Best Music: African Music and Dance), whose research titled: Passing on the Baton, delves into the contributions of Brother Clement Sithole in the development of the Zulu umakhweyane bow, said: ‘This award means that I’m one step away from accomplishing my dream of promoting the umakhweyana bow and the business side of music and to eradicate the exploitation of musicians.’
Student Ms Nomakhwezi Becker (Best Drama and Performance: Drama) did research into her own background as a South African-German citizen discovering what home or belonging meant for her. ‘I did this through theatre and research, and within theatre – this is the language I feel is able to communicate something as fluid and hybrid as belonging for me,’ she said.
Becker is working on her one-woman theatre piece titled: When Coasts Meet, with former supervisor and now colleague, Nomcebisi Moyikwa. The work received a fringe ovation award at the National Arts Festival this year.
‘I want to continue writing for performance as well as research work and to develop my theatre making skills for our time,’ she said.
Mr Sabelo Cele won the Best Drama and Performance: Movement award and Mr Jethro Settler the Best Digital Arts award.
Settler’s work is based on Afrofuturism, which is trying to create a unique place for young African voices to envision a future that is theirs – ‘one they can feel proud of and not feel like they need to cut out aspects of being African to be modern’.
Said Settler: ‘These awards are a great motivation for me. They confirm that what you’re doing is worth something. My plans are to continue with the production of Afrofuturist art and enter the Design Indaba,’ he said.
Another award winner was a judge at the Labour Court of South Africa Mr David Hofmeyr Gush whose work titled: WHAAAAAAT, earned him the Best Fine Arts prize. ‘My piece is a comment on the plethora of mindless social media comment. In the “hard hats” I use terracotta clay as a construction material in order to contrast its conflicting elements of strength and concomitant fragility,’ he said.