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TECHNIKON NATAL (article first published : 1999-06-14)

Technikon Natal’s Open Art Day prompts a reminder of the achievements of the Faculty of Arts over the years. The faculty has produced some of the biggest movers and shakers on the South African creative scene –people who are now in top positions of management or out if the field where they are passing on to others the skills they have learnt at Technikon Natal.

From the Drama and Entertainment Technology department have emerged Ismael Texeira, John Vlismas (M-Net’sAlive at Five) and Nthati Moshesh (SATV’s 37 Honey Street) as well as Grant Swanby, Sifiso Magwaza and Damon Thomas who are appearing in a SATV soap opera. Other former students are actresses Lueen Conning, Crystal Tryon and Liesl Coppin as well as dancers Melanie Burger, Dean Bennewith and Tracy Whittaker. The innovative Dare 2 Dance Company, currently performing in China, was initiated by the Drama Department.

Pertulia Ramaphala is manager of Kwasuka Theatre, Pearl Radebe works as a continuity announcer for SABC and producer for KZN-2-Nite and Kerry Hiles is currently in the Middle East on tour with Richard Loring and his company. Alan Hagan is now doing voice-over work for the Discovery Channel in New York.

Fine Art has produced professional artists such as Clive Kellner, Berry Bickle, Greg Hayes and Nathi Khanyile (one of South Africa’s most exciting new artists) as well as fashion photographer Stephen Inggs and Thomas Barry who is programme editor of SABC3’s But is it Art?.

Some of Graphic Design’s most successful students are Peter Matters, executive creative director at Matthews and Charter Advertising and Damon O’Beirne who works for Speilberg Studios in America. Another former student is award-winning actor Ellis Pearson. Many former students are now creative directors of successful agencies or run their own businesses such as Grant Webster (Fahrenheit Design) and Boyd Ferguson, who started Cecile & Boyd’s along with Cecile Tilley.

Ntabi Taukobong, the first black female to graduate from Interior Design went on to work with Trisha Wilson of Wilson & Associates (interior designers for The Palace at the Lost City).

Music students make up the groups Thamela Masikani Afro Jazz, winners of the prestigious Shell Road to Fame, and Shana (Nathi Maphumulo, Thandukwazi De’mor Sikhosama and Mnqobi Mdaba) which is described as one of the most interesting kwaito outfits in the province. Lihle Elsie Nene, Xolisa Gqoli and S’fiso Elliot Khanyile were selected to represent the African continent at the Forde Musical Festival in Norway in July 1998.

Textile Design students are making their mark on the commercial front. Edgars Limited recently selected a design by Gill Owen. Ford’s new Tracer Tonic boasts Cherylin Donnely’s upholstery design and Anthea Dick’s design Elephant Walk is sold in South Africa as well as New Zealand and Australia. Michèle Aubourg’s ranges of luxury giftwrap, decorative carrier bags, nesting boxes and napkins are being made in Germany, the East and Switzerland by a Swiss stationery company.

Most of the national and international television networks operating in South Africa employ former students of Video Technology department. Vincent Magwenya is now a cameraman and correspondent with WTN (Worldwide Television news). Garwin McLuckie is senior editor at Sky News (London) and is presently working in Cosovo. Also in London is Paul Bundock who is senior editor for Channel 4 TV News. Chevan Lomard is a cameraman with Reuters and Japan Mathebula is a news cameraman with Associated Press and is in charge of the local office. Karin Slater worked with John Varty on Shingalana and edited Super Hunts which won numerous awards.

Running their own businesses are Georgina Parkin, Michael Yelseth and Sean Wisedale (Venture Video); Stuart Merson-Davies and Leanne Fry (In Sync Productions); Shelly Nel (Red Pictures); Howard Cleland and Andrew Cassells (Reeltime Studios) and Johnathon Crawford and Jason Cohen (Red Pepper Pictures)

The above only represents a small portion of former students now proving their worth on the national and international creative arts scene. All in all, a pretty impressive track record for Technikon’s Faculty of Arts.


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