UKZN Music student Ms Thabile Buthelezi has graduated with her International Master’s degree in Dance Knowledge, Practice and Heritage from the Roehampton University in London.
Buthelezi graduated through the prestigious Choreomundus Scholarship, an Erasmus Mundus programme that investigates dance and other movement systems – such as ritual practices, martial arts, games and physical theatre – as intangible cultural heritage. The scholarship is offered by a consortium of four universities in Norway, France and Hungary.
Buthelezi is excited about the future of Arts and Culture in South Africa. ‘I have learned a lot under the programme about the importance of preserving our intangible cultural heritage – most importantly on the methodologies and measures that could ensure the safeguarding of such heritage.
‘I am honoured and grateful for being the first South African graduate. I will take my expertise and experience, and disseminate them to the creative economy of South Africa,’ she said.
Buthelezi aims to contribute towards the Arts industry and be an agent of change. ‘I can do something rather than sit back and wish for development and progress. I can actually partake in overcoming the challenges in place.’
One of the major highlights of the programme was carrying out fieldwork in Hungary on folk dance festivals. ‘This to me was important because one of my goals is to plan, develop and carry out a folk dance festival in South Africa.’
Her advice to other performing arts students is: ‘Know that if you can dream something, it means that you can achieve it. Your future is in your own hands. Remember that delayed dreams are not dreams denied … if you believe that it will happen. Work on the goal and see that it happens regardless of the current situation.
Buthelezi is in South Africa to carry out fieldwork as part of her masters thesis under the programme.
* Buthelezi, who has been performing for more than 10 years, started her career at the KwaMashu Community Advancement Project (K-CAP) in 2000. She travelled abroad as part of international cultural exchange programmes and is involved in various activities in the performing arts sector.
Words by: Melissa Mungroo