Go People: Bathandwa Diniso and Mzamo Kunene

This week we chat with Sonwa Sakuba Institution for Performing Arts second-year students Mzamo Kunene and Bathandwa Diniso.

How did you first find out about the institution?

Mzamo Kunene: I first saw a Facebook post, then a friend of mine sent it to me, and that’s when I did some more research about it.

Bathandwa Diniso: I started at community groups to pursue my performing arts training. Unathi Xenti, who is arguably the best teacher I’ve ever met, saw that I was really passionate about this work. He then introduced me to the founder of the institute, Sonwa Sakuba.

What was it about the school that made you decide to enrol?

MK: I previously trained in Durban as a contemporary dancer. I felt like I was missing some information on the theoretical side and when I saw the school handbook, I saw numerous modules that covered the theory side of art that I was interested in.

BD: The institute has a very strong school of performing arts, and I wanted to study under the best minds in the country, which is exactly what I’m getting. In addition, they also offer the specialisation I wanted.

What course are you doing and what are some of your goals?

MK: I am majoring in dance and my minors are music and drama. My goal is to be a dance practitioner who deals with everything to do with dance, as a dancer, choreographer, teacher and facilitator.

BD: I am studying drama, music and dance. My goal is to be disciplined enough to see myself working on big stages.

What do you enjoy most about the institution?

MK: As much as I’m a dancer, I enjoy the music classes a lot. I especially enjoy the music theory classes, which I feel are important for a dancer to understand music and be rhythmical. The drama classes help in making me a better storyteller.

BD: I enjoy the life lessons we are taught. One of the lessons the full-time course has taught me is it is important to persevere, even when you feel like giving up.

What are some of the most exciting projects you have worked on so far?

MK: The most exciting project for me was Afrika Sings, in which I was the dance captain. The production won an award at the National Arts Festival 2022 in Makhanda. As an apprentice dance teacher at the institute, I enjoy working with our kids and teens programme. I enjoy giving back to younger performers as I did not get a chance to experience this when I was a teen.

BD: The most interesting project I had the pleasure of working on was a project called Kids and Teen Levels, which is ongoing. It provides a platform to share creative thinking and lead different things, from different age groups and ethnicities.

What skills have you learnt so far? (practical and theoretical)

MK: I’ve grown in my dance skills, theory, and choreography. I’ve learnt how to read and interpret sheet music, and sing. In drama, I have learnt how to write and analyse a script and how to build characters.

BD: I’ve learnt to be more creative and confident with my work. I’ve learnt to visualise my work and teach others my skills. Decision-making, collaboration and perseverance are also skills that I’ve learnt.

What advice would you give someone interested in studying performing arts?

MK: It’s a great tool to find your inner voice. There are many opportunities in the creative arts sector, both on- and off-stage.

BD: You need to work hard in this industry, it is not child’s play.

Applications for 2023 scholarships to study at the Sonwa Sakuba Institute are available until November 15.

To apply, submit an audition video via WhatsApp at 063-427-9069.

For more information, visit www.sonwasakuba.co.zac


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