Meet the Standard Bank Young Artists for 2019

Meet the Standard Bank Young Artists for 2019

                             Posted: Nov 01 2018

This week saw the National Arts Festival announce the winners of the 2019 Standard Bank Young Artist Awards (SBYA).

If you’re not familiar with the SBYA, the award is one of the country’s top accolades for young South African arts innovators on the cusp of greatness, and acknowledges leaders and change-makers across the fields of music, jazz, theatre, dance, and visual art.

“For almost 40 years, the SBYA recipients have produced work that captures the zeitgeist of our times, sometimes at the risk of incurring the ire of political or corporate power elites,” explains Executive Director of the National Arts Festival, Ashraf Johaardien. “They upset apple carts. They are bold and unapologetic in their creativity as they train their gaze on making sense of the here and now. They are the artistic conscience of our times, and what they reflect and refract through their lenses has the power to ignite conversations and shift perceptions, to provoke and to entertain. As we celebrate 45 years of NAF next year in the newly renamed Makhanda, we look forward to the fresh and bold insights that the 2019 crop of SBYA winners will bring.”

Check out the winners below and find out more about the SBYA here.


Jephta is a playwright who has also built a reputation as a filmmaker, activist and academic. A champion of theatre by and for women, she has been a driving force in local and global initiatives promoting opportunities for female  playwrights. Aside from her theatre work, she wrote the script for the film Ellen – The Ellen Pakkies Story and is editing a collection of plays by African women. WATCH


Phetla is the principal dancer and choreographer at Joburg Ballet.  She has toured and performed extensively on stages across the globe. A career highlight was dancing The Dying Swan solo for Nelson Mandela and the Dutch royal family, but one of her most noteworthy recent performances was her Queen Modjadji-inspired Rain Dance for Cape Town, in situ at the then-parched Theewaterskloof Dam. WATCH


Mlangeni is a jazz trumpeter and composer who has become a popular fixture on local and international stages since being selected for the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Band in 2006. A gifted bandleader, Mlangeni has carved out a name for himself with various bands and ensembles, including the Amandla Freedom Ensemble, with which he has released two albums. WATCH


Goliath is a multidisciplinary artist who is known for sensitively negotiating complex social concerns in her work, particularly relating to gender-based and sexual violence. Among this PhD candidate’s long-term performance projects is her Elegy series, where each iteration marks the absence of a woman or LGBTQI+ individual who has been raped and killed in South Africa. WATCH


Prins is a pianist whose prodigious talent was evident early on – he had performed with all South Africa’s major orchestras by the age of 14. Today, while studying for his doctorate in music in Cleveland in the US, he traverses the world as a solo performer and chamber musician, often returning home for concerts, teaching engagements and community outreach initiatives. WATCH

5 artists leading the way forward



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