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ACT announces 2017 Scholarship Finalists

The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) announces its new-look Scholarships format, a decision that was taken this year when ACT announced many changes to its funding strategy.

Funded by the Nedbank Arts Affinity and the Dramatic, Artistic and Literary Rights Organisation (DALRO), the 2017 Scholarships Programme presented by ACT is aimed at young South African performers in Grade 12 and aspirant performers under the age of 30 who are not currently registered in any course. The categories this year are acting, singing, dance and musical theatre. After an intense search which was undertaken across all nine provinces, the ACT team and a judging panel have chosen well-deserved finalists in the relevant categories. No longer do contestants have to enter doing the triple threat and now have the chance to compete in singing, musical theatre, dancing and acting. This incredible opportunity has been granted to them as part of the 9th annual Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) Scholarship Programme. Since 2009, ACT has been supporting arts students through this Programme. “We are very excited about this year’s scholarships programme as it has afforded us a chance to showcase four disciplines and we are looking forward to growing it year on year,” says ACT CEO, Marcus Desando.

ACT | Nedbank | DALRO Scholarships
ACT 2016 Scholarships winner Virtuous Kandemiiri | Photograph: John Hogg


Brian Makena who hails from Gauteng, is a Wits Choir member and a volunteer at a centre for orphans. Passionate about singing, entrepreneurship and youth development, Brian is certified as a TV Presenter at Oncue and attends the DNA acting workshops at the Joburg Theatre.

Mia Havenga resides in Cape Town and has been participating in drama, dance and music from a very young age. Mia has studied classical and jazz at Beau Soleil Music Centre and performs in acting and musical roles, whilst joining other professional musicians in her quest to better her talents.

Mampho Letsie was born in Aliwal North and has love music all her life. Being a rather shy person she finds using music a good way to communicate and express herself.

Musical Theatre

Hlumelo Yawa is a talented individual who manages the triple threat with ease, loves people and is quite comfortable on the stage and in a leadership role at school.

Cailan van Heerden is a strong young lady who wants to use her talent to entertain others and believes in being an individual. She is strong willed, empathetic and wants to be able to use her art as means of making a difference. Both Hlumelo and Cailin come from the Eastern Cape.

Caleb Felix is the deputy head boy of the Stellenberg Boys Choir and cultural representative of the Student Council. A hugely talented individual he belonged to the Tygerberg Children’s Choir, was a finalist in the 2016 KykNet national teenage theatre festival and cast in the 2016 Artscape Production “My Fair Lady”. Caleb was recently awarded 3rd place in the 2017 National ATKV Redenaars Competition. Caleb continuously wins local and national awards on all cultural platforms and South Africa has not seen the last of this incredible talent.


David Robert Maluleka was born in Pretoria but lives in the Western Cape. David is a consistent member of Dance for All and the UCT Youth Contemporary. He has great potential

Sithembele Dotwana is not only a leader but an outstanding dancer. Sithembele believes that dancing is not just a hobby as he is living his dream. He is Head of the SRC at Norman Henshilwood High School and dances for the Africa Ablaze Dance Company which is led by Glenda Jones. With five years’ experience, Sithembele takes inspiration from the likes of Bridgette Reeve, Nastasha Buratovich, Roxy Levy, Natasha Rhoda and Wentzel April. Sithembele strives to better his dancing skills and wants to inspire the younger generation.

Fezeka Shandu Tholakele has always loved dancing and had the chance to perform at the Gospel Crown Awards. She tries to better her skills by attending dance classes wherever she can.


Mosehlana (Mosie) Mamaregane is passionate about theatre and acting. Mose attends the National School of the Arts and believes that acting is a mirror of the status in any country and is a voice to express oneself. “To live is to act” is her motto.

Wonder Ndlovu is based in KwaZulu-Natal and has huge ambitions to become an international film actor. His love for acting started in his primary school years where he competed in school competitions, theatre community productions, road awareness campaigns and latterly film productions.

Chad Baai is based in the Cape and is in his last year at school. He has studied drama throughout his school life and hopes to become an aspirant actor and to offer his talent to the arts industry at large.

These twelve finalists will come together in October to be judged by well-respected industry professionals in a stage production set to wow audiences. Four winners will be chosen (one for each category). This has always been a highlight for Johannesburg audiences and each year the talent has blown people away. These awards will be judged on 7 October 2017.

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