ACT Announces Four Winners At The ACT | DALRO | Nedbank 2017 Scholarships

On Saturday evening twelve future stars performed their hearts out on the legendary John Kani stage of the Market Theatre.

Wonder Ndlovu, Hlumelo Yawa, Mampho Letsie, Sithembele Dotwana ACT Awards Suzy Bernstein

The talented finalists from around the country travelled to Joburg in the hope of winning a scholarship to pursue their dreams. Having spent the week working with specialist coaches, and fuelled by passion for their art, the students gave a fantastic performance. ACT CEO, Marcus Desando responded to the first event under his leadership saying “It was heart-warming to see the kind of young talent we have in this country. I would like to congratulate the winners and thank the sponsors for a great evening. We wish all the finalists the best in their future endeavours.

This is the first year scholarships were awarded in four categories, acting, singing, dance and musical theatre. The twelve finalists, three in each category, had the chance to show off their talent in front of a live audience and impress a panel of tough judges.

Wonder Ndlovu (Acting), Mampho Letsie (Singing), Sithembele Dotwana (Dance) and Hlumelo Yawa (Musical Theatre) walked away with the prizes.

The judges this year include South African stars Gina Schmukler and Ilsa Klink, dancer and teacher Sunnyboy Matau, ACT trustee Maureen Lahoud, Head of SAMRO Foundation Andre Le Roux and owner of Canvas C.A.M, Anna Hlalele.

Each winner will receive R50 000 to study their performing arts subject at any tertiary institution in South Africa, as well as the chance to be represented by Canvas C.A.M. Talent Agency.

Tobie Badenhorst, Head of Sponsorships and Cause Marketing at Nedbank is excited to once again be part of giving young artists the chance to pursue their dreams. Nedbank’s brand essence is money experts who do good and this has everything to do with why we fund the Arts and Culture Trust and these incredibly important performing arts scholarships. he said.

“DALRO is proud of its partnership with the Arts & Culture Trust and that we are able to contribute to the training of young talent in South Africa.” said Elroy Bell, Theatricals & General Licensing Supervisor at DALRO. ”We must all do what we can in the goal of attaining free education for all. It is through investing in talented young students that we continue to grow the rich canon of work we showcase as a nation. As DALRO celebrates its 50th Jubilee, we consider it our duty and privilege to contribute to the education of the artists of tomorrow.”

The event was MC’d by 2014 winner Usisipho Nteyi, who is in her third year of musical theatre at TUT.

What a privilege for these young performers to start their journey on the stage that has seen so many South African legends. Ismail Mahomed of the Market Theatre says “The ACT Scholarship Awards is a dynamic investment. It ensures that tomorrow’s stars can accelerate their careers by building it on the foundations of a quality education”.

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Kickstart Your Career With An ACT Performing Arts Scholarship

The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) is calling on young people with the dream of pursuing performing arts studies to apply for an ACT Scholarship.

Matric learners and individuals under the age of 25, who are not currently registered for an undergraduate degree, are eligible to register online to do an audition. This year, there are three performing arts scholarships up for grabs worth R200,000 in total.

Tamzin Williams The Arts and Culture Trust 8th Performing Arts Scholarships. The Market Theatre, Johannesburg. 10 October 2016 Photograph: John Hogg

Funded by the Nedbank Arts Affinity and the Dramatic, Artistic and Literary Rights Organisation (DALRO), and supported by The Market Theatre, the 2017 Scholarships Programme, strives to nurture young talent and provide tertiary education opportunities to young people with their sights set on pursuing performing arts training in 2018.

Thandaza Silwane
The Arts and Culture Trust
8th Performing Arts Scholarships.
The Market Theatre, Johannesburg.
10 October 2016
Photograph: John Hogg

Aspirant young performers are invited to apply in one of the following categories; acting, dancing, singing, or musical theatre. Once registered online, hopefuls will be required to perform two pieces of their choice, within their chosen category, at an audition. Musical theatre applicants are encouraged to perform pieces that showcase their competency as a triple threat performer (singer, dancer and actor).

Auditions will be held in all nine provinces between late June and mid July 2017. ACT CEO Pieter Jacobs says this will ensure everyone is given an equal opportunity. “Over the years we have seen that exceptional talent is not only the preserve of those with access to development opportunities, and undertaking a national road trip to find the best talent has proved well worth it,” says Jacobs.

Since 2009, The ACT Scholarship Programme has awarded 23 scholars and students with over R2,3 million worth of tertiary education funding, Jacobs says that this year they look forward to continuing this legacy.

“It is tremendously rewarding to see previous recipients make their way into productions across the country,” he says. “To mention a few, Tankiso Mamabolo just finished a run as part of the Baxter Theatre’s production of Marat Sade and Arlin Bantam is starring in Rent at Joburg Theatre. This is testament to the valuable investment of our partners.”

Virtuous Kandemiiri.
The Arts and Culture Trust
8th Performing Arts Scholarships.
The Market Theatre, Johannesburg.
10 October 2016
Photograph: John Hogg

Registrations for the programme close on Tuesday, 30 May 2017. For more information about the programme, as well audition dates and venues, and to access the registration form, please visit

For more information about ACT, please visit or connect with them on Twitter or Facebook.


Students Shine At ACT’s Johannesburg Sholarship Showcase

On Saturday afternoon, the stage at the University of Johannesburg’s Con Cowan Theatre played host to a phenomenal showcase of performing arts talent. And, by the end of the show, four university students walked away with R170,000 worth of Scholarships to continue their tertiary studies.

This Johannesburg leg of the Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) Scholarships Programme saw first year dancer Bronwyn Adams (Western Cape) and first year musical theatre student Sindisile Nkuna (Mpumalanga) each take home R50,000 worth of Scholarship funding, while second year singer Katleho Mokhoabane (Free State) and second year musical theatre student Songezo Khumalo (KwaZulu-Natal) won R35,000 respectively.

ACT Scholarship winners (left to right) Bronwyn Adams (Western Cape), Sindisile Nkuna (Mpumalanga), Katleho Mokhoabane (Free State) and Songezo Khumalo (KwaZulu-Natal)
ACT Scholarship winners (left to right) Bronwyn Adams (Western Cape), Sindisile Nkuna (Mpumalanga), Katleho Mokhoabane (Free State) and Songezo Khumalo (KwaZulu-Natal)

Tasked with selecting the winners were Moving into Dance’s CEO, Nadia Virasamy; theatre director and designer, Jade Bowers; and actress, Nicole Murugan – no easy feat, as the caliber of this year’s finalists was truly top notch.

ACT CEO, Pieter Jacobs says Saturday’s showcase was further testament to the abundance of creative talent our country possesses. “After seeing the finalists battle it out on stage, there’s no doubt that not only the recipients but also some of the runners-up will become household names and delight audiences for many years into the future.”

Funded by the National Lotteries Commission (NLC), this year R320,000 is allocated to budding performing artists in their first and second year of tertiary studies from around the country.

Mrs Thabang Mampane, Commissioner of the NLC says they are honoured to assist these young artists reach their full potential. “Grants of this nature are in line with Governments commitment to provide opportunities for the youth of South Africa,” she says.

Since 2009, ACT has been supporting arts students through their Scholarship Programme. But 2016 is an exciting year for the Programme as there are more Scholarships on offer than ever before.

The Cape Town showcase, which took place last month saw four more university students clinch prize money to further their studies. And, on 10 October, six triple threat matric students will sing, dance and act before an audience and a panel of judges in hopes of laying claim to a Scholarship that will entitle to them to begin their performing arts studies at an accredited South African tertiary institution of their choice.

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About The Winners

Bronwyn Adams

Twenty two-year-old Bronwyn Adams’ passion for dance started at the age of seven. She is skilled in various dance genres, with a particular focus on African and Contemporary. In 2010, during her high school years, Adams joined the London-based AA Dance Company. After matriculating, she trained with Dance for All, gaining experience in Spanish, Cabaret, Salsa, Jazz and Hip Hop. At the Rainbow Academy of Performing Arts in 2015, she became skilled in business, playing different instruments and in the dramatic arts. She has appeared on live TV shows such as Expresso and Hectic9nine. Currently studying at the UCT School of Dance, she plans on becoming a dance choreographer and giving back to the community.


Sindisile Nkuna

Nkuna, from Mpumalanga, was raised in White River by a single mother of six children. Matriculating in 2015, Nkuna, who has always loved music and performance, groomed her talent by singing at public events and writing plays for school talent shows. Though she has faced challenges as a performer, she continues to grow. She wants to feed and heal souls with what she has learnt. She aspires to inspire.


Songezo Khumalo

Khumalo is an inspired student at Oakfields College. She was born in Port Elizabeth but grew up and finished her primary school in Ladysmith, KZN, where her family is based. She attended high school at the National School of the Arts in Braamfontein, majoring in Drama and this is where her passion and love for the arts grew. She has been involved in both backstage and onstage work. Khumalo is currently involved in a production directed by Prof. Harold Mortimer, from The University of Oklahoma, and Weslee Lauder, which was performed at the NAF2016.


Katleho Mokhoabane

Mokhoabane is a second year student at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), currently doing his diploma in vocal art under the supervision of Thami Zungu. Coming from a small town in the Free State, Mokhoabane completed his Matric in 2014 with a National Diploma. He was involved in the school choir were he gained a love for opera. At the TUT he was involved in Coronation Mass by WA Mozart, The Magic Flute by WA Mozart and Falstaff by G Verdi. He is currently busy with Cosi fan Tutte playing the role of Ferando. After completing his Diploma, Mokhoabane would like to study at the University of Cape Town to get close to the one opera company that is operating fulltime in South Africa.


Issued by The Famous Idea on behalf of The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT)