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Nelson Mandela University’s Music and Performing Arts Department is hosting the first ever in-person South African Strings Convention 2023 from 17 to 20 March in collaboration with the South African Strings Foundation (SASF). 

A total of 34 guest artists will perform in various styles, genres, and combinations over the seven concerts, all in the University’s South Campus Auditorium. These include names like Dizu Plaatjies (uhadi and umrhubhe), Thandeka Mfinyongo (uhadi), Albert Ssempeke (endingidi; Baganda music), Leon Bosch (double bass and conductor), Shaun Johannes (electric bass legend), Zanta Hofmeyr (violin) and Cara Stacey. 
Other highlights include: 
• The World premiere of the first ever concerto written for solo violin, uhadi, and umrhubhe with string orchestra, performed by Mandela University’s David Bester (violin), and Dizu Plaatjies (uhadi and umrhubhe). Also, a mass string orchestra, the biggest group of 58 high-level string players put together on one stage in the Eastern Cape up to date on 19 March at 19:30.
• The opening concert on 17 March at 19:30 features a gamut of styles and genres, showcasing the diversity of string instruments in Southern Africa. Mandela University’s Rudi Bower (guitar) will appear as soloist in a guitar concerto by Vivaldi. The Gqeberha Trio will perform with Thandeka Mfinyongo. The Nelson Mandela University String Ensemble (NMUSE) and the Odeion School of Music’s Camerata (from UFS) will also perform in this concert.
• A concert celebrating women in music and a tribute to the late Madosini. Music by women composers, including Mandela University’s Monique Hellenberg on 18 March at 19:30. 
• Interesting instruments include the Uhadi ensemble; Jazz bass duos; Baganda percussion instruments (performed by Albert Ssempeke); Double string orchestra; Mandolin; Classical and electric guitar in various styles. 
It is an integrated conference and music festival, with a strong focus on learning, sharing knowledge and practice, and building connection among the Southern African strings’ community, says David Bester, senior lecturer in violin and viola. 
Other Mandela University staff members in solo roles include Njabulo Mthimkhulu, Erika Bothma and Mariechen Meyer. MMus candidate Jared Houlie (guitar), MMus graduate DAPHNE (viola), Khanyesile Skade (voice), and many more will feature in the concerts. Students from the School of Visual Arts will help document the Convention activities, whereas Music Education students will attend some of the workshops. 
More than participants and more than 250 school learners will be involved in special Convention projects on 17 March. 
The SASF plans to host this event every two years and to rotate to different universities each time.
Tickets sell at the door at R100 for adults, R80 for students, learners and pensioners. A day pass to attend all Convention events, is R700 per day including lunch.
See details of each concert below.

Contact information
Mrs Nicky Bosman
Academic Secretary: Department of Music
Tel: 27 41 504-4235