Universal Music helps keep the National School of Arts open

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From left to right Elouise Kelly, Brenda Sakellarides, Kgomotso Mqhayi, Linda Mabusela

Bottom row from left to right: Corin Mathews, Vuyelwa Potha Gary Natali, Lutho Zwane, Sipho Dlamini. (Supplied)
From left to right Elouise Kelly, Brenda Sakellarides, Kgomotso Mqhayi, Linda Mabusela Bottom row from left to right: Corin Mathews, Vuyelwa Potha Gary Natali, Lutho Zwane, Sipho Dlamini. (Supplied)
  • On 2 August 2020, The National School of Arts informed stakeholders and alumni that it is in dire need for financial aid.
  • On 10 November 2020 Universal Music South Africa announced its partnership with the school in response to their plea for aid.
  • As a part of the partnership  the record company will offer the school’s music department hands-on support resources, classes and internships.


On 2 August 2020, The National School of Arts released a statement to inform its stakeholders and alumni that it is in dire need for financial aid. Written by the school’s principal, Gary Natali and artistic director, Brenda Mary Sakellarides the letter said: 

Covid 19 has pushed the school right to the edge and rendered what was already an extremely fragile financial situation into a possible financial casualty… Without exaggeration, if we do not secure a significant flow of funds into the school in the next three months, the SGB [school governing board] will have no alternative but to start retrenching staff.

When they made the announcement, the school’s goal was to raise five million rand. Of the five, R4.5 million will go toward saving the school from its 2020 fees deficit through the following calculations: 

The annual fees for an NSA leader add up to R26 640.00. The school currently needs bursaries for 175 students to manage the deficit that comes as a result of guardians being unable to pay fees. In total the 175 bursaries will come to an amount just over R4.6 million. 

The remaining R500 000 from the five million rand will kickstart an alumni endowment fund that will go toward paying the fees of 25 students in the years to come. 

On 10 November 2020 Universal Music South Africa announced its partnership with the school in response to their plea for aid. The Universal Music Group has donated R1.5 million to the school. 

Located in Braamfontein the last five decades have seen the high school giving learners from grade 8 to matric the foundational tools needed in the various performing and creative arts. It’s alumni include Kitty Phetla, Zoë Modiga, Langa Mavuso, Thula Sindi and Lebohang Masango.

The partnership with Universal Music will save the school from threats of closing due to the lack of income as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Present at the ceremony to announce the partnership were students, parents, teachers and alumni. 

Speaking about the partnership, managing director of Universal Music and Sub-Saharan Africa Sipho Dlamini said: 

For more than 50 years the NSA has helped to train South Africa’s arts community; it is a jewel that must be saved. I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to work with the NSA to ensure that future generations of young artists can continue to train here and I look forward to building future programs that will provide new opportunities in the years to come.

The landmark partnership includes the newly renamed “Universal Music Department. Here over 165 learners will be catered for through hands-on support resources, classes and internships from the music company 

As a part of the announcement, the NSA’s artistic Brenda Sakellarides said:  

Universal Musical Group is home to some of the most exciting music artists today so we’re thrilled to partner with a company that puts artistry first. We’re excited to work with the Universal Music South Africa team to continue educating our students, providing them resources and a foundation to explore, create and pursue their dreams.

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