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SAMANTHA VAN GYSEN (article first published : 2005-06-9)

The 2nd National Eisteddfod Academy Awards ceremony was presented on May 7 at the Pro Musica Theatre. A total of 26 top achievers had the opportunity to thrill a large audience with their talents. These performers were selected out of 1,100 candidates that recently participated in the NEA Awards.

In top position, winning a cash prize of R5,000, was violinist Samantha van Gysen from KZN.

Other winners were Berdene Du Toit from HoŽrskool Randburg (undramatised prose); Camille Bracher from Ballet Theatre Afrikan (modern dance solo); Jason May from Tiensie Lategan Studio (recorder) and Stefanie Rynboom who is a piano pupil of Diane Coutts.

The NEA launched this prestigious event for youth performers in music, dance and drama during 2004 in order to create a platform where the top achievers in the various regions of the Di Konokono Festival can compete and showcase their talent.

The Di Konokono Festival 2004 attracted more than 20,000 individual participants and groups. All diploma winners were invited to participate in the NEA Awards and entries were received from various regions, as far as KZN and Limpopo. These events were adjudicated during April at the Randburg Square, HoŽrskool Randburg and the Dance Factory in Newtown.

The panel of adjudicators included Wim Vorster, EstŤ Pienaar, Saranti Reeders, Dan Lefoka, Neels Boonzaaier, Joy Cooper and Michelle Braam.

The National Eisteddfod Academy intends to open participation in the NEA Awards to the top achievers in all other existing eisteddfods and festivals in future. For more information in this regard contact the NEA Office on 011 886 6005 or e-mail: info@eisteddfod.co.za




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