Winners of the first annual Javett Music Award competition at the University of Pretoria

Sandisile Gqweta and Olu Yakhe have been named winners of the 2018 Javett Music Awards at the University of Pretoria.


Christopher Till, Lenora Hammonds, Sandisile Gqweta, Ola Yakhe at the Javett Music Awards
Image Supplied by Javett


Sandisile, a BMus (Performing Arts) final year jazz student at the University of Pretoria, won in the Jazz vocal category and Olu, who hails from Mdantsane, in the Eastern Cape, won in the classical singing category. They each win R25 000 and the opportunity to perform at the University of Pretoria's Musaion Theatre.

The annual awards alternate between composition and performing arts in any musical genre (classical, jazz or electro-acoustic). The awards acknowledge excellence, and celebrate outstanding, innovation and musical creativity, targeting the best young talent in the country.

Both Sandisile and Olu will be joined on the stage by Grammy nominated jazz vocalist, Professor Lenora Helm Hammonds when they perform at the Award function. Professor Helm Hammonds arrived in South Africa earlier this month from North Carolina Central University to take up her residency as the Javett Jazz Artist-in-Residence, awarded by the Javett Foundation, at the University of Pretoria's Department of Music.

Sandisile will perform Billie's Bounce (Charlie Parker); Detour Ahead (Carter, Ellis and Frigo); and Inner Peace (Themba Mkhize). Olu will perform Porgi amor (Mozart); O mio babbino caro and Signor ascolta (both Puccini); and Is’thandwa sam (Tyamzashe).

“We have, in Olu and Sandisile, young musicians of rare talent,”

says Professor Alexander Head of the Department of Music at the University of Pretoria.

“It’s wonderful to provide them with a platform to develop and grow their skills. Winning the Javett Music Award is not only an honour they both richly deserve; but it also gives them well-deserved exposure and recognition.”

The Javett Awards represent the first element in an expanding and evolving partnership between the University of Pretoria and the Javett Foundation. The partnership is rooted in a shared belief in the value of the arts for society in general, and for education in particular. The partnership will be consolidated and strengthened in 2019, with the launch of the Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria (Javett-UP).

Both Professors Helm Hammonds and Professor Johnson served on the adjudication panel that chose the student winners. Their fellow adjudication panellists were Professor Mageshan Naidoo (University of Pretoria), Professor Albie van Schalkwyk (University of Cape Town), Professor Karendra Devroop (UNISA); Dr Soon Cho (Texas State University); and Themba Maseo (Music Department, University of Pretoria)

The Javett Music Awards concert takes place on September 5 at the Musaion Theatre at the University of Pretoria’s Hatfield campus. 

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