One of Africa’s leading educational institutions for music production and sound engineering, the SAE Institute in Cape Town, South Africa recently announced the scholarship winners for its July 2016 intake of students.
As the only African campus out of 54 situated in 28 countries all over the world, SAE Cape Town offers four scholarships in the field of music production, the patrons of which are all prominent musicians: Ready D, Young Guru (Jay-Z’s mix engineer/DJ), Black Coffee and most recently AKA, whose scholarship was launched earlier this year. Both Black Coffee and AKA Scholarships are in partnership with international non-profit Bridges For Music.
Applications for the scholarships opened in October 2015 and were done via the SAE website, with applicants required to write a 2000-word motivational essay. The scholarship patrons read the shortlisted essays and personally selected the most deserving candidates. The applicants were also assessed by SAE teachers and staff on their character, experience and commitment, although it is the patrons themselves who have the final say.
This year SAE received a record 4374 scholarship applications. With such a vast amount of applicants, and with so many powerful and well-written essays, it was particularly challenging to select only a handful of winners.
The winner of the Ready D Scholarship is Bongani Mhone. Originally from Zimbabwe, Bongani has been DJing since the age of 14 while also being committed to teaching and mentoring young people around him. Ready D explains why Bongani was chosen as the recipient of the scholarship: “Bongani comes across as a perfect recipient. I am inspired by his motivational letter and his determination. The industry will benefit from a person with his experience and outlook on life.”
Masithembe Rawe, winner of the Black Coffee Scholarship, is from humble roots in the Eastern Cape and has been a songwriter and musician for as long as he can remember. His goal now is to become a successful producer and sound engineer.
The AKA Scholarship winner, Joshua van Zyl is from Ocean View in Cape Town, attributes his character and determination to his Cape Flats background. Experiencing the good with the bad, Joshua is determined to succeed and give back to his community.
Justin Williams, recipient of the Young Guru Scholarship, is from Elsies River and is passionate about music and education. He has never given up despite many obstacles over the years.
Besides offering various courses in Sound Production, SAE also focuses on film and animation. The institute has therefore also launched a Film Scholarship in association with Makhulu Productions, an apprenticeship-based production company that believes in addressing inequalities and the lack of access to on-the-job learning opportunities in the South African media industry. With their Sunshine Cinema initiative, a solar-powered mobile cinema, they host community screenings in areas lacking access to diverse content, while running media training workshops with local community partners.
The recipients of this year’s SAE Sunshine Cinema Scholarship is Lufefe 'Fez' Figlan, who has been working at Makhulu for about 10 months and is passionate and determined about gaining diverse film making skills to develop his craft as a true creative storyteller.