FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE    26 September 2022


Arts and Culture Trust Nyoloha Scholarship Programme reaches penultimate stage ahead of gala event to announce the winner


The opportunity to win a fully paid scholarship valued at R350 000 to study at a South African arts institution of choice is drawing closer. Since early July 2022, 54 qualifying participants selected for the Arts and Culture Trust (ACT) Nyoloha Scholarship Programme (NSP), a partnership between ACT, Nedbank Arts Affinity and sponsors Sun International and Business and Arts South Africa (BASA), have been attending fortnightly virtual training sessions under the mentorship of award-winning musical theatre and stage performer, Samantha Peo (Performing Arts), and renowned fine artist and Sasol New Signatures fine art competition finalist, Estelle Dry-Muller (Visual Arts).


During the first month of workshop training in July, both Samantha Peo and Estelle Dry-Muller focused extensively on self-identity techniques as a mode for storytelling through one’s art.  Students were given the tools and methods to transfer their experiences and perception of the world into original stories, expressed through their respective art forms. Some of the training techniques included self-awareness and self-confidence building exercises, which bolstered confidence in the students as artists, the art they make and as young individuals striving to build sustainable careers within a contemporary and perhaps precarious arts industry. Consequently, this saw the mentors engage the young scholars on modern skills that are essential for contemporary artists, for example, the visual arts workshops included modules on diversification of income streams and digitisation of visual artworks. At the end of July, the participants were rated on their first body of created work.


During August, participants used the feedback they received from the mentors to reinvent their creative journey and define their distinctive style, to improve their ratings and increase their chances of being selected as one of the top 12 ACT NSP finalists or one of the three wild cards also selected to participate in the rehearsal week in Johannesburg, from 3 to 7 October 2022, and ultimately the finals on 8 October.


During the upcoming rehearsal week, the selected 15 finalists will take part in tours of art institutions and participate in masterclasses, facilitated by their mentors. They will also get the opportunity to meet and interact with the esteemed visual artist, Baba Tjeko, and musician, Holly Rey.


The exclusive and specially curated black-tie gala awards evening will be attended by invited guests and members of the media. Members of the public and the arts community are invited to follow this iteration via the live stream of the event at no charge. Details will soon be available on the ACT’s social media platforms.


The gala evening will feature art, entertainment and performances by the music, drama, and dance participants, while all nine visual artists will exhibit their original artworks. Proceeds from the sale of these artworks will go towards the scholarship programme.


‘As we celebrate some of this country’s finest young emerging talent, we also recognise the dedication of the two Nyoloha mentors, Samantha Peo and Estelle Dry-Muller, who passionately trained, encouraged and equipped the participants to do their best and have a chance to win the ACT NSP award,’ says Jessica Denyschen, Interim CEO, Arts and Culture Trust. ‘We look forward to announcing the 15 finalists and wish them a wonderful week of workshops and activities ahead of the gala evening when the winner will be announced.’


Tobie Badenhorst, Head of Group Sponsorships and Cause Marketing at Nedbank, says: ‘The talent, courage, commitment, and growth of the 54 participants in the mentorship programme, representing dance, visual arts, drama, music, singing and performance, have made us even more proud to be South African. As young people, they are impressively aware of their deep purpose, and although there can only be one winner of the scholarship, we want to encourage each and every participant to pursue their art ambitions and careers. The mentorship programme was carefully designed to nurture their art forms, and they have excelled.’



Heidi Edson, Head of SED Sun International Group, says: ‘For decades, Sun International has been the premier entertainment venue around the country for showcasing the arts, music, dance, and theatre, so we fully endorse the valuable work that ACT Nyoloha is undertaking in communities. Through their programmes and scholarships, they offer young creative talent an important platform not just to grow but to flourish, and we are proud to be associated with the work they are doing.’


To keep in touch with the Arts and Culture Trust, please visit the ACT website, follow ACT on Twitter or like the ACT Facebook page.



SUBMITTED BY: Debra de Souza,, WhatsApp calls only: 082 822 9478


Estelle Dry-Muller (Visual Arts) is a qualified fine artist based in Johannesburg. She lectures part-time at the Vega Design School, teaching n, Design Culture, and Visual Literacy. In 2015 she graduated with a Masters in Fine Arts and created a diverse body of work, mostly focused on sculpture and installation. In 2017, she switched her focus back to drawing, wanting to explore line and ink drawings. Estelle has taken part in and curated several exhibitions and has been a finalist in both the Sasol New Signatures, Absa’L Atelier Art and Thami Mnyele Fine Art competitions.


Samatha Peo (Performing Arts) is an established musical- and corporate theatre entertainer in South Africa, with 30 years’ experience. She has appeared in all the major theatres across South Africa, worked with outstanding local and international directors and won numerous prestigious theatrical awards. Most recently, she joined the world tour of ‘Chicago: The Musical,’ playing the leading role of Velma Kelly, which toured South Africa, China, New Zealand, Germany and Austria from 2018 to 2022, for which she received a Naledi Theatre Awards nomination.


The Arts and Culture Trust (ACT): Over 28 years of arts support

The ACT is South Africa’s premier independent development and arts investment organisation. The primary aim of ACT is to increase the capacity for arts and culture initiatives to create sustainable futures, through development and investment in innovative, sustainable projects that make a meaningful contribution to society. Through structured development programmes, ACT provides support to all expressions of arts and culture, including literature, music, visual art, theatre and dance, and this support extends to festivals, community arts initiatives, arts management, arts education, and arts administration.


About Nedbank

In partnership with ACT, the Nedbank Arts Affinity has donated more than R28 million over 28 years to support over 830 arts, culture, and heritage development projects countrywide. If you would like to make a difference in the lives of talented young artists in South Africa, simply link your Nedbank Greenbacks to the Arts Affinity and Nedbank will donate money to ACT, at no cost to you. The Arts Affinity currently supports the ACT Thuthukisani Programme and the ACT Tlholo Project. For more information, visit any Nedbank branch, call us on 0860 555 111 or visit


About Business and Arts South Africa (BASA)

BUSINESS AND ARTS SOUTH AFRICA NPC (BASA) was founded in 1997 as a joint initiative between government and the private sector as part of a strategy to secure greater involvement in the arts and from businesses operating in South Africa. Constituted in terms of the Companies Act, BASA is registered as a public benefit organisation. BASA champions business investment within the arts, cultural and heritage sector, driving focused and sustained partnerships by unlocking shared value and fostering social cohesion. For more information, please go to




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The Sun International brand has a proud legacy in the gaming, hospitality, conferencing, leisure and entertainment sectors.


Sun International’s iconic properties, such as the world-famous Palace of The Lost City Hotel at Sun City and the magnificent Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town – situated on the water’s edge of the V&A Waterfront – have become synonymous with luxury, comfort and outstanding service, firmly establishing the group’s position as an internationally recognised premium brand.


Sun International’s diverse South African property portfolio includes 15 hotels, two premier resorts and 11 well-located casinos – all of which offer modern, fully equipped conferencing and banqueting facilities, while the Sun Vacation Club at Sun City is now a leading timeshare model in the country.


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