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Henriette Weber

UWC’s Henriette Weber walks away with the Special award for outstanding achievement of youth in Arts and Culture

Henriette Weber, who is the Head of Department at the University of the Western Cape’s (UWC) Centre for Performing Arts (CPA), has recently been awarded the Western Cape Minister’s Special Award at the Cultural Awards for the years 2014/15.

The Minister’s Special Awards consisted of  four categories, and Henriette walked away with the award for Outstanding Achievement of Youth in the Arts and Culture, Language, Heritage, Geographical Names, Museums, Libraries or Archives fields.

The fifth annual award ceremony organised by the department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) was held at the Baxter theatre to honour the best artists in the Western Cape, the Cultural Affairs Awards celebrates the colourful Cape through social inclusion, and gives the people of the province a sense of confidence and pride in their historic, cultural and linguistic heritage.

Weber started working at the University of the Western Cape in 2011 and has been helping aspiring musicians from all over the Western Cape ever since.

The courses offered by the UWC Centre for Performing Arts are community engagement driven. They include the Intermediate Programme in Music and the Advanced Programme in Music.

In an interview with the UWC Media Office, Weber said the primary objective of CPA is to provide quality music education to talented musicians from under-privileged communities. She described her job as one that is exciting and energising, with occasional challenges.

Weber said she will use the fact that she was awarded to promote awareness of the unique opportunities the UWC CPA creates for community musicians. “My mission is to take the connotation of inferior and informal out of the community musical environment” she added.

Weber said members of the Mamre Moravian band - who are part of the CPA programme at UWC - travel to campus on Saturdays to participate in the UWC Wind Orchestra.

The network is one that keeps growing as community engagement is rapidly increasing. A teacher, Annemarie Kotze, from the Enlighten Education Trust, has been appointed to tutor two CPA students from Hermanus who are unable to afford the weekly traveling fees to campus.

Weber, along with Nathan Lawrence who is the community engagement coordinator at the CPA, regularly travel to Hermanus to assess the CPA  programme and students, where they teach students who are cannot afford travelling fees.

Weber also noted that the UWC CPA has become a place where she is able to channel the knowledge of students, and thereby structure accredited courses which will benefit musicians from the community in gaining the necessary skills required to teach at any level. The aim of these CPA programmes is to ensure that qualified and skilled students graduate and are able to assist in community music projects.

Weber said she never imagined her life to be what it is today, and added that she is certainly enjoying the ride. She is not new to receiving awards. She received her first award in 2007 - a Special award for the Outstanding Achievement for Youth in Arts and Culture, on behalf of the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) outreach and education programme, where she was previously employed.