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Graduate calls for African music and dance programmes in high schools

Passionate about music, the performing arts and a dream to build an arts centre in her hometown of Gamalakhe near Port Shepstone, Silindile Shazi is thrilled to be graduating with a Bachelor of Arts honour's degree cum laude from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) today.

The first in her family to attend university and graduate, Shazi would like to see the introduction of African music and dance programmes in the curriculum at high schools in South Africa. "The issue is close to my heart," she said. "Growing up in a township, our schools did not offer programmes which included African music. People tend to undermine our cultural arts, so I want to show and teach the kids in high schools that our own music, dance, heritage and culture are as important as the Western versions," said Shazi.

As part of research work for her degree, she introduced different instruments to learners in Durban's Berea and discussed African music and dance courses available at UKZN as well as possible arts careers to follow.

Shazi says she experienced first-hand challenges schools face when trying to include African music and dance in courses offered: "Society needs to be reminded about the importance of culture. I feel we need programmes like these in schools, especially those based in townships and cities."

Shazi, who is part of the UKZN Choir, was selected as one of the Asia World Model United Nations (AWMUN) IV delegates in Bali, Indonesia in July.

She is also currently studying for a Master of Arts degree.

Shazi's supervisor, Dr Patricia Opondo, said supervising her research work was a pleasure: "She has a bright future and is a beacon of light and hope for African music and dance, and applied ethnomusicology students."

For media interviews, Shazi can be contacted: [email protected] / 067 679 5069.

The UKZN virtual graduation ceremony will be broadcast on SABC 3 (DSTV Channel 193) today at 1:30pm. Graduands will join via the link:

UKZN has also partnered with Ukhozi FM on a special graduation programme, which will be broadcast between 12pm and 3pm today.