Students from around 40 schools in KwaZulu-Natal will take part in a schools version of “South Africa’s got Talent” in Pietermaritzburg on March 18.
Titled the Old Mutual Ubuntu Earth Festival, in partnership with Wildlands, the competition aims to encourage students to learn about environmental and social issues, as well as educate an audience, through performance.
The competing students will choose between performing a song – solo, group or choral (cover versions and original music is encouraged), or poetry – classic or free-style, and will be judged on how they weave in messaging around preserving and protecting the environment, as well as addressing social challenges, into their performance. The message makes up 50% of each schools score and is essentially what makes this event unique.
The Ubuntu Earth Festival is made up of two parts:
A talent search (auditions) during which about 40 local schools will be invited to submit Ubuntu Earth performances for adjudication. The 40 performances will be whittled down to between 10 and 15 acts which will take part in the regional festival.
The winning performance (one overall Primary School and High School winner) will be chosen at the regional competitions.
Old Mutual sponsorship manager Bandile Mngoma said “The Ubuntu Earth Festival is an exciting addition to our sponsorship portfolio, more so that we will interact with learners and educators in the hope of shaping a better future for them through performing arts.”
He added that “It will be great to see how the students interpret and engage with their environment on the day.”
“It is heart-warming to see how passionate the youth are about environmental issues,” said Deputy Director of Marketing at Wildlands, Lauren van Nijkerk. “Last year we heard the most beautiful songs written about saving our wetlands, preserving water and putting an end to poaching – topics that one assumes are not top of mind for the youth of today. This really is a special competition in that scholars are given a platform to simultaneously expose their talents and make a difference.”
The winning acts both walk away with R5 000 in School Improvement vouchers, mentorship from a professional in the music industry and airtime on a local radio station.