Arts and Culture Trust Nyoloha Scholarship Programme finalists announced

The opportunity to win a fully paid scholarship valued at R350 000 to study for an arts degree at a South African arts institution of choice created a flurry of excitement nationally amongst matriculants, school leavers, educators and parents when the Arts and Culture Trust (ACT) announced the Nyoloha Scholarship Programme (NSP) open call earlier this year.

A total of 89 applicants were received. After completing the audition process, the 54 qualifying participants, mostly from Gauteng, Eastern Cape and Western Cape have undergone a rigorous two-month learning programme 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). The work of the qualifying participants has been rated and the Arts and Culture Trust together with partners Nedbank Arts Affinity and sponsors Sun International and Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) are pleased to announce the 15 finalists.  The winner will be revealed at a glittering exclusive, specially curated function at Montecasino, Johannesburg this Saturday, 8 October 2022.

The finalists in the Visual Arts sector of the Nyoloha Scholarship Progamme, all hailing from Gauteng are;  Liam Rose (20) from Randburg; Oteng Kopiso (22) from Boksburg; Ndumiso Mbewe (23) from Tembisa and Lethabo Modimola (17) from Diepkloof, Soweto.  “I thoroughly enjoyed working with this group of enthusiastic young people whose passion and dedication shone in their work,” says Estelle Dry-Muller, Nyoloha Programme Visual Arts mentor.

From across South Africa, the Nyoloha Scholarship Programme Performing Arts finalists for 2022 are:  Sigcobise Fezeka Mbatyoti (20) from Fort Beaufort; India Wesi (17) from Sandton; Yolo Mazwai (18) from Craighall Park; Marang Qhamisa Khwene (19) from Pretoria; Sanele Kobe (25) from Fourways;  Alfred Malesela Pitseng (22) from Polokwane; Bandile Mndawe (19)  and Thando Khensani Silinda (20) both from Mbombela; Lesegisa Mowasa (17) from Khatu; Emihle Kutu (19) from Beacon Bay in East London and Dithabe Mbali (17) from Khayelitsha. Performing arts mentor, Samantha Peo  says “I was so impressed by the creativity, bravery and risk taking of so many of the participants. I really believe that they challenged themselves, many against all odds, to show up and put the work in. I was blown away by the intelligence and innate talent and understanding of the tasks by more than half the group. Their editing and understanding of film making at their age and with just a simple phone app was so exciting to see.”

Mpumalanga-based theatre/performance finalist Bandile Mndawe says he decided to apply to the Nyoloha Sponsorship Programme because his mother can barely afford to feed Bandile and his five younger brothers, therefore making a university education impossible as it is way beyond her means. “I have been subject to challenging circumstances such as waking up at 4 am every weekday to get a bus at 5 am so I’m not late for school,” says Bandile. “I was called names like “Johnny Walker” because I was the only one walking to a bus station. Drama was where I could vent using my feelings because I felt no one was listening; and that also helped me connect well with certain pieces of my audition. I could not give up on my dream because my mother cannot pay for me; I had to research looking for funding and after two years of research I found this opportunity.”

“The ACT Nyoloha Scholarship Programme aims to encourage young people with artistic potential to gain the necessary self-confidence and open-mindedness to fresh ideas and different perspectives in order to ultimately compete and to seize the opportunity, to study at an arts institution of their choice in South Africa,” says Jessica Denyschen, Interim CEO, Arts and Culture Trust. ‘It has been greatly encouraging to witness the development and release of creativity by all the participants who have grown in leaps and bounds since the start of the programme. The ACT Nyoloha Programme celebrates some of this country’s finest young emerging talent. Congratulations to the finalists and we wish all applicants the very best for all future endeavours.”

During this, rehearsal week, from 3 to 7 October, the 15 finalists are taking 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 gala awards evening on 8th October from 5:30 pm will feature art, entertainment and performances by the music, drama, and dance participants, while all nine visual artists will exhibit their original artworks. 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 are available on the ACT’s social media platforms. Proceeds from the sale of the artworks will go towards the scholarship programme.

Tobie Badenhorst, Head of Group Sponsorships and Cause Marketing at Nedbank, says: ‘The talent, courage, commitment, and growth of these fifteen finalists, representing dance, visual arts, drama, music, singing and performance, has made us even more proud to be South African. They have been selected from 54 participants in the mentorship programme, and even though there can only be one winner of the fully paid scholarship, we congratulate each finalist, and each and every one of the 54 participants. We believe in them and urge them to pursue their art ambitions, dreams, and careers. They have excelled and grown so impressively over the past few months of mentorship. We wish them the very best of life.’

Heidi Edson, Head of SED Sun International Group, says: ‘To all finalists let me extend our warmest congratulations, we honour and commend you all for your passion and commitment. We at Sun International are incredibly proud of your contribution and dedication to the future generation within the Arts.’

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.   ENDS


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



The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) – Over 28 years of arts support

The ACT is South Africa’s premier independent arts development and 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


About Sun International

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.


The group is also the local industry leader in online gaming. Thanks to the latest global technology, betting through its SunBet platform, Sun International also offers the most innovative and exciting online betting experience available.


The group has also set the standard for hosting events, and their world-class arenas remain the preferred venues for international events and shows. The three championship golf courses at the Sun City and Wild Coast Sun resorts regularly host large-scale golfing tournaments, including the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City, which is now part of the European Tour.


Whatever the activity, all Sun International’s properties and facilities offer a quality experience supported by authentic personal service. Most Valued Guest (MVG) guests are rewarded with exclusive offers and preferential rates through the MVG loyalty programme, designed exclusively for Sun International gaming patrons.


In February 2021, Sun International joined Global Hotel Alliance (GHA), the world’s largest alliance of independent hotel brands and operator of an award-winning, multi-brand loyalty programme called Discovery. Through GHA, Sun International can now participate in a network with 17 million members, that operates in 85 countries.


Sustainability and community involvement form an integral part of the group’s corporate culture. Through collaborative partnerships with government and local businesses, Sun International’s SED and environmental initiatives ensure scarce environmental resources are never wasted, and the group is committed to providing ongoing and meaningful support to vulnerable communities throughout South Africa.


In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Sun International implemented a comprehensive Covid-19 Policy and Health Plan across all business units for the safety of guests, staff and concessionaires. In November 2020, Sun International received an award from The Institute of Risk Management South Africa, in recognition of the extensive and world-standard Covid-19 controls introduced across all of their hotel and casino properties. Sun International is also a recipient of the World Travel and Tourism Council’s global Safe Travels Stamp of approval.