Off to the Big Apple

2014-10-27 00:00

THOUGH she still has to pass matric, a Durban North pupil is looking forward to a starry future.

Northlands Girls’ High School’s (NGHS) Nondumiso Shange has already been accepted to study at the New York Academy School of Film and Acting (NYA) in May next year.

Shange has dreamt of studying acting and singing overseas since she was a Grade 5 pupil at Athlone Primary School in Pietermaritzburg. “I always took part in music lessons, drama and musicals. I’ve always been singing and acting.”

A friend told Shange about the NYA scholarship and she applied online. On September 20, accompanied by her mother Bongekile Shange, Shange auditioned at Hilton College for the admissions director of the NYA. “I had to do two one-minute monologues to camera,” she recalled. “Getting used to the camera pointing at me was quite nerve-wracking.”

Shange needn’t have worried. “They accepted me on the spot. We were so excited, we couldn’t believe it. It was amazing.”

At NGHS Shange has performed in several South African plays, including Woza Albert by Mbongeni Ngema and Barney Simon, and played the title role in Gcina Mhlophe’s Have You seen Zandile? In last year’s school musical, she played Oprah Winfrey “and sang a lot of songs. I really love jazz music. Singers like Sade and Toni Braxton, the older generation — not the new.”

Asked for her favourite film, Shange responds: “Sister Act 2 with Whoopi Goldberg”, who also starred in the last film Shange watched, Corrina, Corrina. And her favourite actress? “Whoopi Goldberg — I also like Sandra Bullock.”

How does Shange feel about being so far away from home, her mother and her sister, Sipho­kazi? “I don’t think the transition from home and school to New York will be too difficult as it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”

Shange will begin her studies in New York on May 26. “I will be there for eight months, then I go to Los Angeles for two years to complete the degree.”

NGHS dramatic arts teacher Elmarie Louw said she spotted Shange’s “great potential” in Grade 8. “Nondumiso’s strength lies not only in her being a natural, but her hard work, commitment, her passion and, most of all, believing in herself.”

Shange starts writing matric today but has already completed the drama and music practicals. “There’s just the theory left.”

Regarding matric, Shange said she’s not feeling “too much pressure yet. I just want to pass.”

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