@Fest Boikanyo’s heavenly voice

Boikanyo’s heavenly voice

Her school never had a full-time choir, relying on ad-hoc arrangements for specific occasions or competitions. During one such event, a reluctant Kelebogile Boikanyo (24), was drafted into the choir of Hebron Technical and Commercial High School in North West Province.

Fast-forward seven years and Boikanyo is the Standard Bank Young Artist for Music. While preparing for her vocal recital, the soprano admitted surprise at her nomination, but promises a “brilliant” show that “will not disappoint”.

After high school, Boikanyo’s talent and strong vocals earned her a scholarship at Tshwane University of Technology, opening up the road of her dreams. She speaks fondly of Hein de Villiers, artistic director of Opera Africa, who identified her talent as far back as 2007 and set about polishing it. Referring to how he stood by her, giving his support, encouragement and belief, she said: “Through him, I found myself.”

The experiences of the last half-decade have taught her to empathise with other performers.

She understands the pain of performance and has acquired a newfound respect for artists in all genres. Her journey so far has helped her to realise just how strong she is. Reflecting on her favourite moment on stage, Boikanyo said her role as Susanna in Opera Africa’s 2010 production of The Marriage of Figaro stands out. “It was a really big challenge, but was also so much fun!”

When it comes to thinking ahead, Boikanyo remains down-to-earth, believing that the only way to further her career is through hard work. “I’m very realistic,” she said. “I need to climb to get where I want to be.”

She knows what it is going to take to get where she wants to be and expects a long, hard journey ahead. “But I have to remain grounded and humble, that’s important”, she said, always remembering that first day in Hebron’s ragtag choir.

-Mike Sutherns-

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