The Music Department in partnership with Stellenbosch University's (SU) Transformation Office, the Visual Arts Department and the Women's Forum presented a concert in celebration of Women's Day in August in the Endler Hall in Stellenbosch. The SU Jazz Band took centre stage under the direction of Felicia Lesch joined by South African jazz legend Gloria Bosman and jazz singer and poet Mihi-Tuwi Matshingana.
The evening was specifically dedicated to honouring the memory of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke – the first black South African woman to obtain tertiary education and who graduated in the USA in 1901. Her mantra, “When you rise, lift someone up with you", is a maxim that artists Felicia Lesch, Bosman and Matshingana all embrace.
Lesch is passionate about music as a vehicle for social change and formed the SU Jazz Band as one of the ensembles of the Certificate Programme. The Certificate Programme is the pre-undergraduate programme of the SU Music Department which was created to empower students with skills to embark on a BMus or Diploma programme at tertiary level.
Matshingana completed a BCom degree at SU in 2014, during which time she also studied in the Music Department's Certificate Programme, a programme to which she paid homage on stage. She is currently a third-year Jazz Studies student at Wits University in Johannesburg.
South African author and journalist Zubeida Jaffer's third book “Beauty of the heart", which is a tribute to Maxeke and also provides fresh information on her life, was available for purchase at the event. Jewellery from an jewellery exhibition by Kutlwano Cele, a student in the Visual Arts Department, was also on sale.
The SRC and many students from other departments and faculties supported the concert.
“For some this was their first “Endler experience", which made it a particularly joyful event," said Monica du Toit of the Transformation Office.
Special guests from within the Arts Faculty, the Women's Forum, the Gender Equality Unit, SU Museum, SU Transformation Office and community partners of the Music Department's own Certificate Programme also attended the Woman's Day Celebration Concert.
“The event was a moment of institutional belonging and connection with new people at our institution."
“We look forward to more meaningful collaborations in the future and honour the women (and men) on stage who are using music as a vehicle to liberate, educate, rage and dream," added Du Toit.