Change the world


Three Music students who all want to make a difference in various ways with their music, received awards at the University’s recent virtual annual academic student awards ceremony.

Lara Potgieter received the Best First Degree Award in the Humanities Faculty, Samuel Kleinbooi, was the Humanities Faculty’s Best First Diploma Award recipient and the Best First-Year Undergraduate Diploma Study Award in the Humanities Faculty went to Dean Adams.

Lara achieved 89% for her BMus degree and also passed eight English Literature modules with distinction including 97% for one of them.

She wants to complete her MMus in Piano Performance and her licentiate in voice next year. She also has qualifications in clarinet and classical voice.

Thereafter she hopes to complete a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, specialising in both Music and English. She would love to further her English Literature studies and complete an honours qualification in the future.

“It is my personal belief that you owe it to yourself, more than to anyone else, to achieve as much as you are capable of. Your determination and efforts to improve yourself and the world around you should never cease”, she says.

Lara wants to pursue a career in education focussing on neurodivergent students, disabled students (visually impaired), as well as young learners from disadvantaged backgrounds, as she believes that music is a highly valuable and precious tool that can facilitate self-expression, as well as improve well-being, academic performance, and self-confidence.

She wants to take an integrated approach and expose learners to all areas of the creative arts to improve other important skills, not just music-related ones. She is also thinking of freelance work and private teaching, incorporating as many other creative avenues into her lessons and workshops as possible for a more holistic education. Her dream job is to compose music for video games, films, and series.

She went to Victoria Park High School in Gqeberha where she was the Dux scholar, was a Top 20 Finalist in The Herald’s ‘Matric of the Year’ and the first learner to achieve an honours blazer in two separate disciplines, namely academics and music.  

Lara was part of the Nelson Mandela University choir in her first year and went on an international tour to China representing both the University and the Country.

Her older sister, Liske Hemingway (nee Potgieter), received this same award upon completing her BMus degree in 2012. Their mother Prof Zelda Potgieter is a staff member in the Music Department at Mandela Uni.

Music is a soul language, it's deep and it has the ability to change any atmosphere or mood says, Samuel who graduated with a Diploma in Music and is currently in his second year of BMus. Samuel averaged 80%. 

His main instrument is Contemporary Voice and his second instrument is Drumset.

He hopes to complete his DMus degree, lecture at Mandela University and teach music in his community.

Samuel matriculated at Westville Senior Secondary School where he was Deputy Headboy and top achiever in Accounting.

Online studying is not something he enjoys, but says he just pushes on. He does most of his practical work at his local church.

Choosing a favourite genre of music is difficult but Gospel is where it all started and “Gospel is music between me and God, making it even sweeter”. 

Dean is a second-year Diploma student in Music, who obtained 100% in three of his first-year modules and an average of 90% overall. 

“I hope to one day make a living out of creating and participating in music”, he says. His main instrument is the piano or keyboard and he enjoys it because “it is limitless, it covers a wide range and is therefore great for composing music and unmatched for input into digital music production”. He wants to gain a greater understanding of all music.

Dean matriculated at Muir College Boys’ High School in Kariega.

Covid-19 and its consequences has greatly demotivated me in my work ethic and I believe it has stunted my growth as a musician.

“I would like to follow many different things in my career, but a job where I could create and share my music while making a comfortable living would be more than enough for me. Through my studies I want to gain a greater understanding of all music and would like to develop the skills to become a competent enough musician to fully express myself.