SunCares superstars dance to the beat of their own drum at the Gold Reef City Lyric Theater

LIGHTS, music and action! The stage was set on October 23 for 240 bright young talents in Tsogo Sun’s SunCares Arts Academy to perform in a grand finale year-end concert, having been selected by National Eisteddfod Association (NEA) adjudicators as being the brightest talents within the programme.

The concert is the culmination of a successful year of learning the basics of drama, dance, vocal training and voice projection, together with a structured life-skills course that covers a broad spectrum of topics to empower the youngsters to make sound choices throughout their lives.

As part of the SunCares Arts Academy programme, 480 students from 12 underprivileged

schools in Diepsloot and Mayfair, have been given the opportunity to develop their talents in the arts and, as a showcase of their newfound skills and talents, to create musical pieces which are presented in a series of community concerts in their respective areas.

These concerts were held over the last two weeks and were attended by adjudicators from the NEA, who selected the top performers and the best schools to go through to the


Giving the students a stage beyond their wildest dreams, the Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City was the setting for the most talented youngsters within the SunCares programme to be recognised for their achievements in the SunCares Arts Academy, concluding with an awards ceremony in four categories, including the top high school, the top primary school, the best

three individual performers, the most enthusiastic educator and the best performing facilitator.

“The programme was piloted in one school in 2012 and then launched in 2013 as a carefully designed full-year curriculum, facilitated and run by Minimax Performing Arts, and using the arts as a catalyst to provide opportunities for change in the lives of young people in communities around Johannesburg,” says Shanda Paine, Tsogo Sun’s Group CSI Manager. 

“The concerts are inspiring and are quite remarkable evidence of what can be achieved with a lot of enthusiasm, a desire to work hard and apply learnings, well-trained facilitators, and a fine-tuned curriculum,” notes Paine.

Renowned South African singer PJ Powers is the patron of the Tsogo Sun SunCares Arts Academy and is deriving immense pleasure from time spent with the children, coaching, encouraging and instilling a sense of confidence in their ability to be the best they can be.

As with all Tsogo Sun’s SunCares programmes, the Arts Academy is founded on strong partnerships with relevant bodies that include the Department of Education, with the schools, with leading learning and training institutions, and increasingly with the communities where the children who attend the academy live. The scepticism that was evident among parents of the selected children at the start of the programme has dissipated as the children’s academic standards have been maintained, their lifeskills have improved, and they have developed exciting new skills in the performing arts.

“This successful initiative has given us the means to provide gifted youngsters from Diepsloot and Mayfair with the knowledge, confidence and lifeskills needed to reach their potential through the performing arts and it is a privilege and a pleasure to be able to give them the opportunity to develop skills and then showcase them on stage in front of an appreciative audience,” concludes Vusi Dlamini, Group HR Director of Tsogo Sun.

“Tsogo Sun is committed to this investment in these young lives and looks forward to many future concerts and to seeing these young lives blossom into accomplished people as they move on in their lives.”


And the winners are:


Facilitator Growth Award – Mpotseng Nhlapo Educator Support Award – Mrs Patience Maponyane from Reshomile Primary school

Naledi Star Award, individual – Nkosikona Ndebele

Best Over-all Production Award, primary school group – Bree Street Primary School


Best Over-all Production Award, high school group – Johannesburg Secondary School

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