After 3 months of intense online training and mentorship, the Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) is thrilled to reveal the names of the 15 exceptional finalists who will compete in the final event of the annual ACT Nyoloha Scholarship Programme (NSP). These significant events celebrate and support the talent of both young visual and performing artists from across South Africa.
The ACT NSP is an annual partnership between ACT, the Nedbank Arts Affinity, and sponsors, Sun International and Business and Arts South Africa (BASA), offering matriculants, school-leavers, and budding arts practitioners the opportunity to win a fully paid undergraduate scholarship worth R350 000 to study at a South African arts institution of their choice.
This year’s iteration of the programme saw 68 participants being shortlisted to participate in the programme nationally. The programme started on 10 June, with bi-weekly online professional training and mentorship taking place over 3 months until mid-August 2023. Performing artists (singers, dancers, and actors) as well as digital or visual artists were rated by their mentors every month, and those who performed the best over the 3-month period have now qualified for 1 of 15 finalist spots. The names of the qualifying finalists in each of the arts disciplines are as follows:
Performing arts finalists
Asiphumeze Stuurman (Western Cape), Bonoko Khoda (Gauteng), Lindiwe Ngwenya (Gauteng), Mthobisi Khanyile (Gauteng), Naledi Lebelo (Free State), Nicole Retief (Western Cape), Nonjabulo Khubeka (Gauteng), Nsizwazakithi Mvubelo (Gauteng), Thato Segodi (Gauteng), and Tintswalo Mahlakolisane (Gauteng).
Visual/digital arts finalists
Azanda Nyangintsimbi (Gauteng), Lauren Wood (KwaZulu-Natal), Rethabile Weevirs (North West), Siphesihle Hlatshwayo (Gauteng), Thabang Makgakwe (Limpopo).
The final week of the ACT NSP starts on 2 October and includes various exciting activities for the finalists, including masterclasses with industry experts and site visits to esteemed arts institutions in Johannesburg. This will be a lead-up to a 2-week visual arts exhibition at the MTN Innovation Centre in Johannesburg, opening on 5 October. Finally, the ACT Nyoloha Scholarship Programme concludes with a glitzy gala night featuring a performance showcase by the finalists on 7 October at the Joburg Theatre, where the two winners of a visual arts and performing arts scholarship up to the value of R350 000 each will be announced.
‘The ACT NSP is dedicated to fostering the growth and development of South Africa's young, vibrant and artistic talents, whose ambition it is to follow a career in the arts and culture sector,’ says ACT Chief Executive Officer, Jessica Denyschen. ‘With the scholarship finals week we aim to provide a platform for emerging artists to showcase their craft, connect with industry leaders, and gain exposure that can launch their careers. We are incredibly excited to witness this year’s emerging talents from diverse backgrounds showcasing their work, and we encourage the public to join us on this incredible journey as ticket details will be announced soon.’
‘The talent, courage, commitment, and growth of these 15 finalists, representing dance, visual arts, drama, music, singing and performance, has made us even more proud to be South African', says Tobie Badenhorst, Head of Group Sponsorships and Cause Marketing at Nedbank. 'They have been selected from 68 participants in the mentorship programme, and even though there can be only two winners of the fully paid scholarships – one in the performing arts and one in the visual or digital arts - we congratulate each finalist, and every one of the 68 participants. They have excelled and grown remarkably over the past few months of mentorship, and we urge them to pursue their art ambitions, dreams and careers. We wish them the very best.’
Heidi Edson, Group Socioeconomic Development (SED) Specialist at Sun International says that they are delighted to be a partner of the ACT NSP. 'We wholeheartedly endorse the impactful work undertaken by the ACT as they pave the way for brighter futures by creating a platform for the education and skills development of young talent in the arts and culture sector. Through the ACT NSP, young participants will also receive life lessons that are instrumental to setting them on a trajectory for a long and sustainable career in the arts and culture sector.’
ACT, together with long-term partner Nedbank and returning partners Sun International and BASA, strongly believes in helping to build a better, more educated, sustainable arts industry in South Africa. ACT also send its gratitude to the MTN Foundation for their generous contribution of the visual arts exhibition space and additional spot prizes at the gala event on 7 October.