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SIBONGILE KHUMALO FOR NAF (article first published : 2006-09-11)

The National Arts Festival has announced that well-known singer and music connoisseur, Sibongile Khumalo, will take over from the outgoing Chairman of the National Arts Festival Committee, Mannie Manim. Sibongile has served on the National Arts Festival Committee since 1995 and in 2003 was appointed Vice Chairman.

In announcing the appointment, Mannie Manim said “We are truly honoured to have someone of the calibre of Sibongile to lead the National Arts Festival Committee for the next three years. Sibongile’s vision and international experience has already added huge value to our committee. She is the perfect person to lead this invaluable national cultural asset in the next phase of its development.”

Sibongile is without doubt one of South Africa’s most versatile singers, at home with oratorio, art songs, opera as well as jazz and other popular music genres. She has a BA (Mus)(UNIZUL), a BA (Hons)(WITS) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Personnel Management from the Wits Business School (HDPM). She has taught at the University of Zululand, the Federated Union of Black Arts (FUBA), and the Madimba Institute of African Music. She was also the Arts Centre co-ordinator at the Funda Centre. She has served on various boards and is currently the chairperson of Lukholweni Interim Home, which is the Soweto chapter of the Cancer Association of South Africa.

Sibongile first graced the stages of the National Arts Festival as the winner of the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Music in 1993, and thereafter received four South African Music Awards for her light music and jazz recordings, and three FNB Vita Awards for her opera and concert work.

Highlights of her career include guest appearances with the former National Symphony Orchestra, locally and abroad, the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra and the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra; performing as the soloist in Messiah with Lord Yehudi Menuhin and the London Bach Choir under Sir David Willcocks; and as the soloist in the world première of Mzilikazi Khumalo’s epic UShaka ka Senzangakhoma and its European Tour.

Other highlights include the title role in Carmen for Opera Africa; Anmeris in Aida, Ulrica in Un Ballo in Maschera for Cape Town Opera; Azucena in Il Trovatore for Cape Town Opera and Den Norske Opera (Oslo). Latterly Sibongile has played the title role in Princess Magogo ka Dinuzulu for Opera Africa.

Sibongile Khumalo has performed her own music compositions at the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal Festival Hall, the Barbican Centre and Ronnie Scott’s in London, and at the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC as part of the African Odyssey series.

On her appointment she had this to say, “The National Arts Festival is such an important platform for both performing and visual artists new and established. It allows space for experimentation while it gives affirmation to established talent. It is of vital importance that this festival continues to grow in its offerings and I do hope that sponsors see this festival as a worthwhile investment for this beautiful country of ours.”

In wishing the new chairman well, Festival Director, Lynette Marais, also paid tribute to the outgoing chairman in thanking Mannie Manim for his dedication and selfless contribution not only to the committee and the National Arts Festival, but also to the arts in general. “Mannie has given his valuable time and his invaluable experience in leading the committee of the National Arts Festival for the last seven years and we are going to miss him enormously.”




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