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SAMRO special bursaries help young music students to ‘realise our dreams’

The SAMRO Foundation has cemented its commitment to investing in South African music by awarding five special bursaries to high-calibre students.

     These awards are in addition to the approximately R1 million worth of music bursaries SAMRO disburses to dozens of deserving students around the country every year.
     Thanks to generous bequests, this year the SAMRO Foundation was able to make more special bursaries available, focusing on the under-serviced field of indigenous African music research, as well as on jazz and Western Art Music composition.
     As one of the recipients, Féroll-Jon Davids, pointed out, these awards help young musicians ‘to realise our dreams and to build sustainable careers by pursuing what we love’.

Here are this year’s recipients of SAMRO’s special bursaries:

SAMRO/Mzilikazi Khumalo Bursary (R30 000): Nandipha Mnyani (MMus – University of the Witwatersrand)


     Nandie, a jazz singer with the Mnandi Blue Jazz Band, will use the bursary to pursue her Master’s degree research into indigenous African music and, ultimately, a PhD to ‘decolonise music education in our country’.
     ‘Through this research’s findings, I am hoping to gather data that will help me to develop teaching methods that can be used to teach indigenous African music in our schools. I also hope the research will inspire other music educators to consider teaching indigenous African music as well, because it is required by education policy.’
     Saying that Prof Khumalo has long been her inspiration, Nandie hopes that ‘through this research, I can honour his legacy with pride’.

“Receiving [the SAMRO/Mzilikazi Khumalo Bursary] is an honour and I hope that through [my] research I can honour [Professor Khumalo’s] legacy with pride” – Nandipha Mnyani

SAMRO/Roodepoort International Eisteddfod Competition (RIESA) Bursary (R20 000): Féroll-Jon Davids (BMus: 2nd year  – University of Stellenbosch)


     Féroll-Jon says he was planning to become an accountant before discovering ‘a deep love and passion for music’ through his interactions with professional musicians.
     He will be using the bursary to jump-start his postgraduate studies, hopefully abroad. ‘My passion and skills are seated in creating music in a group context, whether it be orchestral or as a member of a small ensemble. There is nothing more enjoyable than interacting with other passionate musicians. However, to keep this interaction fresh and of a high quality, one must be versatile, well-rounded, knowledgeable and exude craftsmanship as a musician.’

“Receiving the SAMRO/RIESA Bursary has had a positive impact on my life…, not only by encouraging me to study harder, but also … it does encourage a generous mindset in general” – Férrol-Jon Davids

SAMRO/RIESA Bursary (R20 000): Mihi Matshingana (BMus: 3rd year – University of the Witwatersrand)


     Jazz vocalist and composer Mihi says she didn’t choose music – music chose her – and that after completing her degree, she will concentrate on performing and teaching.
     She was in ‘complete disbelief’ when hearing about her bursary, and ‘immediately called my mother. Upon hearing her tears of joy, mine were also released. My family and I have gone through the most difficult time in the past two years, especially financially. I was certain that I would have to give up my dream of obtaining my degree. Receiving this bursary gave me hope that maybe I won’t have to.’

“My desire is to also inspire other people to become the best musicians they can be – leading by example and sharing the knowledge I have received” – Mihi Matshingana


Ralph Trewhela Bursary (R11 000): Conrad Asman (BMus: 3rd year – University of Cape Town)


     In his first year of study, Conrad won the Cone Composition Competition, open to all students at the South African College of Music. Professor Hendrik Hofmeyr describes him as ‘one of the most promising young composers I have encountered in my university career.’
     For his part, Conrad believes that composition competitions and masterclasses ‘have significantly enhanced my compositional skills and portfolio.’
     He plans to use his bursary to further his Master’s degree studies abroad, and hopes to participate in the next SAMRO Overseas Scholarships Competition for composers. ‘I hope to follow in the light of Ralph Trewhela and give back to our national arts community through my compositional output,’ says Conrad.

“I hope to follow on in the light of Ralph Trewhela and give back to our national arts community through my compositional output” – Conrad Asman

SAMRO/RIESA Bursary (R20 000): Slindile Dlamini (BMus in African Music & Dance: 2nd year – University of KwaZulu-Natal)


Slindile has always been passionate about music: ‘Since I was young, I have seen myself as a master of music and a teacher – and now I can say that all my dreams are coming true.’
She hopes to continue her music studies overseas – and to ‘change people’s lives through music. As I come from a disadvantaged family, I want to make them proud.’
Expressing her gratitude for the bursary, Slindile adds: ‘I really appreciate their generous support. Their gesture will also encourage other students to excel in their studies.’

     For more information, visit, or follow the SAMRO Foundation on Facebook or Twitter.

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