Autistic pianist uses show to raise awareness of condition

SPECIAL TALENTS: Yolande Nkosi and her talented son, JR. Picture: SUPPLIED

With April being autism awareness month, JR Nkosi will be showcasing a music and theatre production to highlight the positive aspects of living with autism, at the Guild Theatre on April 2.

The show marks World Autism Awareness Day.

Using drama and music to highlight the unique aspects of living with autism, Nkosi will be accompanied by other performers using the arts to capture navigating life as an autistic person.

According to Yolande Nkosi, organizer, and JR’s mother, this event is necessary because the dearth of reliable information regarding autism is a growing global health crisis.

“Our aim is to have autistic people be more understood, accepted, included, and not stigmatised. With this show, we want parents who have recently learned about their children’s conditions to know that there is hope and that autism diagnosis does not mean the end of the world.

“People with special needs can have very special talents, not only in music. There is a lot that they excel in.

“That is why the community should not be quick to judge them or label them with nasty comments,” said Nkosi.

The show is headlined by JR, a 20-year-old self-taught pianist. Though he struggles to speak and is unable to read or write, he is an incredible musician.

“He can miraculously sing while his fingers play a melody.

“He plays all genres just by listening to a song once and people who understand music call him an audio genius.

“He will be joined on stage by eight autistic children and 10 other band members and performers,” said Nkosi.

He has performed at festivals like Macufe Homebrew in Bloemfontein, Berlin November, Umtiza Festival, Ncera Macadamia, and the Makhanda National Arts Festival where he received the Ovation Award in 2019.”

Tickets are R140 at Computicket, Shoprite, and Checkers. The show starts at 14:30 on Sunday.


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