generation who have been brought up on a diet of Western pop culture.
in Choir Boy directed by Tshego Khutsoane. The production received an Encore Award at the National Arts Festival in the same year. “I liked that UJ has an Arts Centre that you can access without feeling the pressure of completing a degree. It allowed me to live out some of the things I wanted to do and expand on my skills but at a very professional level. It was not just a thing of getting there and then we play. These are people who are seasoned artists, seasoned directors and they put a lot of effort in teaching us the skills. I went from never having done anything to leading a musical that ended up winning an award at the biggest arts festival in the country and that boosted my confidence.” The access UJ Arts & Culture provides has supported Masibigiri in growing his career as a musician. He describes it as an incubator and a safe space, an invaluable tool for market research and an opportunity to perform on new platforms to a diverse and growing audience. In 2019, Masibigiri won the UJ Weekend of Jazz, Rhythm of the Bands student competition, and was invited to open for Nduduzo Makhathini. “I have been able to meet many important people in the creative and cultural industry and have access to people who are good at what they do all thanks to UJ Arts & Culture. I can see if my art is being
well received which is invaluable, where else do you get access to people from so many different spaces in such a busy city.” Masibigiri has committed himself to a career as an artist, and although he admits that it can be a hard road to pursue when navigating the “politics of the stomach” with the integrity of the art, he finds hope in the risks he has taken. “There is a big element of believing in yourself
“It is not boring because the old people are holding on to it and the West is not so great, they are just so good at selling their culture. We can also do the same. I see it happening quite organically with many older people being reminded of why they hold on and younger people reaching out and wanting to connect with their culture in a meaningful way.” “I want to be at the forefront of making my culture and language cool, the food we eat, the stories, the superstitions, I want to preserve that as I believe there is so much intrinsic value in that. With globalisation the world is changing so much, but the one thing technology can’t replace is creativity. We create art from how we are socialised and our differences in socialisation is what makes us who we are when we interact with each other,” he adds. Masibigiri started studying a Bachelor of Arts in film and television at the University of Johannesburg in 2016 and graduated in 2019. During his time at UJ, Masibigiri actively participated in many of the UJ Arts & Culture’s events. He made the top ten in the Can You Sing? competition in 2016. In 2018, he was cast in a leading student role
and others believing in you and what you do and that encourages you to continue. I have to trust that my market will be enough to sustain me and I will be able to grow as an artist and economically while creating meaningful work.”
ALUMNI IMPUMELELO 48
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