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The South­ern African Mu­sic Rights Or­gan­i­sa­tion (SAMRO) is pay­ing it for­ward to nur­ture the mu­si­cians of to­mor­row! This year, 99 mu­sic stu­dents at nine South African pub­lic uni­ver­si­ties will re­ceive al­most R1.2 mil­lion in bur­saries from SAMRO to as­sist with their stud­ies.

Most of the re­cip­i­ents of the SAMRO bur­saries are from the Univer­sity of Cape Town (24) and Nel­son Man­dela Univer­sity in Port El­iz­a­beth (19), with the re­main­der study­ing at the uni­ver­si­ties of the Wit­wa­ter­srand, Stel­len­bosch, KwaZu­luNatal, North West, Pre­to­ria and Rhodes, as well as at the Tsh­wane Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy.

The SAMRO Foun­da­tion’s Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, An­dré le Roux, says the or­gan­i­sa­tion is con­tin­u­ally stream­lin­ing its mu­sic bur­sary ap­pli­ca­tion process. This year’s ap­pli­ca­tion form was avail­able on­line from De­cem­ber 2017, giv­ing stu­dents enough time to gather the re­quired doc­u­ments and sub­mit their ap­pli­ca­tions.

Sev­eral grate­ful re­cip­i­ents have writ­ten to SAMRO to ex­press their de­light and grat­i­tude, with a Rhodes stu­dent say­ing the news was ‘mu­sic to my ears’, and a UKZN stu­dent not­ing that it was proof that ‘there’s ab­so­lutely noth­ing wrong with dream­ing big’.

‘We’ve re­ceived count­less let­ters of thanks from ap­pre­cia­tive stu­dents, who now have some of the fi­nan­cial pres­sure lifted from their shoul­ders. It means the world to us as the Foun­da­tion to see how much these bur­saries mean to them, as a solid in­vest­ment in our fu­ture mu­si­cians and ed­u­ca­tors,’ Le Roux says.

Al­though most of this year’s re­cip­i­ents are sec­ond-year, third-year, fourth-year and Hon­ours stu­dents, a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber – 14 – are study­ing mu­sic at Master’s level.

One of the SAMRO Foun­da­tion’s fo­cus ar­eas is en­rich­ing the coun­try’s body of in­dige­nous mu­sic knowl­edge. Among the fu­ture schol­ars com­mit­ted to achiev­ing this goal is Wits Master’s stu­dent Them­bela Ndesi, who won the R30 000 SAMRO Mzi­likazi Khu­malo spe­cial award for re­search into in­dige­nous African mu­sic.

She writes: ‘I was elated and grate­ful to learn that I was se­lected as the re­cip­i­ent of your bur­sary… [which] has en­cour­aged and mo­ti­vated me to work even harder to pro­duce qual­ity re­search.

‘I hope to in­spire, in­flu­ence, im­pact and nur­ture growth in oth­ers as Pro­fes­sor Mzi­likazi Khu­malo has done and con­tin­ues to do. I hope to one day emulate your gen­eros­ity and as­sist stu­dents [in achiev­ing] their dreams, just as you have sup­ported me.’

Motswedi Modiba, an­other Wits stu­dent, has three sib­lings still at school, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for her par­ents to pay fees for all of them. She is now able to re­sume her stud­ies, thanks to the SAMRO bur­sary. ‘What was once a moun­tain that seems im­pos­si­ble to climb is now a hill that I can con­quer. I am eter­nally grate­ful to the SAMRO team!’

In ex­press­ing her grat­i­tude, Rikalet Mostert from NMU says that this bur­sary will ‘re­ally as­sist me in grow­ing into the mu­si­cian I want to be, with re­gards to be­ing able to spend more time on de­vel­op­ing my art and hav­ing to do fewer shifts in my day job in or­der to sup­port my stud­ies. I hope to have the hon­our, in the fu­ture, of be­ing one of the mu­si­cians that pro­motes the name of SAMRO.’

Brown­lee Dlu­lane, a sec­ond-year stu­dent at Wits, writes: ‘Thank you so much to the SAMRO team for wa­ter­ing the seed I am try­ing to grow. It is mo­ments like these I will look back on in life and al­ways be thank­ful for. SAMRO has

of­fi­cially played a huge role in the development of my ca­reer as a mu­si­cian, and for this, I will al­ways be grate­ful.’

On a lighter note, Nosihe Zulu from UKZN says: ‘I am so speech­less! This is very rare com­ing from a loud­mouth like me. SAMRO, I cried real ugly tears when I thought about what this means. This bur­sary means so much to me and it’s just so en­cour­ag­ing to hear that “some­one out there be­lieves in your dreams”.’

A Stel­len­bosch Univer­sity stu­dent, Cornél En­gel­brecht, writes: ‘Thank you so much for sup­port­ing an art that so many bur­saries refuse to con­sider. Thank you for be­liev­ing that study­ing mu­sic can be just as valu­able to this coun­try as be­ing a doctor or en­gi­neer. Be as­sured that your tremen­dous con­tri­bu­tion will not be in vain!’

Poignantly, Stel­len­bosch Master’s stu­dent Michelle Nell writes: ‘As a visu­ally im­paired post­grad­u­ate stu­dent who comes from a low-in­come house­hold, I know full well how harsh re­al­ity can be, but also how ab­so­lutely life-chang­ing fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­ni­ties such as this one will prove to be as a vi­tal con­tri­bu­tion to­ward my aca­demic well-be­ing and ul­ti­mate suc­cess as a qual­i­fied mu­si­cian. So, on be­half of my en­tire fam­ily and my­self, our hum­ble and most heart­felt thank you for this much-needed fi­nan­cial award!’

The sig­nif­i­cance of the bur­saries is summed up per­fectly by Wits stu­dent An­wyll de Leeuw, who says: ‘With this con­tri­bu­tion to­wards my stu­dent fees, the worry of fi­nances is re­duced, al­low­ing me to fo­cus more clearly on mu­si­cian­ship mas­tery, where some­day I hope that I too can make an im­pact with my mu­sic and knowl­edge gained in our South African com­mu­ni­ties.’

A com­plete list of all bur­sary re­cip­i­ents is avail­able on www.sam­ro­foun­da­

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