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Thursday, April 10, 2014


(Pictured with Festival Director Njabulo Madlala (right) are prize-winners (from left) Noluvunyiso Mpofu, Bongani Kubheka, Tembisile Twala, Sandile Sikhosana and Nomsa Mpofu)

Njabulo Madlala, the acclaimed London-based South African baritone, has announced the results of his second Amazi Omzansi Africa National Singing Competition and workshops for Singers, the finals of which were held at the Howard College UKZN in Durban on March 30, 2014.

First prize worth R10,000 was awarded to baritone Bongani Kubheka from Newcastle, an opera student at the University of Cape Town. Joint second prize winners of R5,000 each were sopranos Noluvunyiso Mpofu (also a UCT student) and Tembisile Twala from Johannesburg. Baritone Sandile Sikhosana (another UCT student) took third prize R3,000, Swazi tenor Sibusiso Dlamini took fourth position R2,000 . Sibusiso, who has never had formal singing tuition is an incredible talent who has completed high school but needs help yet financially to take up studies. Soprano Nomsa Mpofu, also a UCT graduate, along with tenors Kananelo Sehau and Khanyiso Gwenxane, won three joint prizes of R1,000 each. All UCT winners study with baritone Patric Tikolo.

Following nationwide auditions, the festival’s main event the workshops were held at the Playhouse Theatre from March 24 to 30 ending with the very popular singing competition. Amazwi Omzansi Africa Festival Director Njabulo Madlala, current holder of the Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year Award for Music, and an awardee of Britain’s prestigious Kathleen Ferrier Memorial Prize, said he was greatly impressed with the high standard of singing of this year’s young participants. He commended their openness and the willingness to take on new information from workshop leaders Violina Anguelov, Sipho Fubesi and Madlala himself.

Madlala said the event was made possible by the support of its patrons, the Katherine Grice Award, Diemersfontein Wines Excellence Out of Africa Trust, the Archer family, Mrs Harris, Opera Azuriales Festival and other donations from individuals. Amazwi Omzansi Performing Arts Festival is a music performance and educational initiative aimed at the development of the youth of South Africa. Not only developing their singing but also giving them skills and insights on how to run a successful business of music.

The project runs intensive training programs for young singers connecting highly talented young people who have a particular talent and interest in music with leading artists in the music field from around the world. The initiative was started by Njabulo Madlala with the vision of giving back home, acting as a bridge creating connections through music and the arts, to promote local, national and international collaborations.

There is a particular focus on classical music training and opera as South Africa has seen an incredible upsurge of artists talented in this genre over the recent years but lack enough structures and platforms that celebrate this talent. Plans are already in hand for the next event to be held again in Durban. The organisation needs as much help as it can get from the community of South Africa.