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NewsMusic in AfricaWinds of Change at the Samro Foundation

Winds of Change at the Samro Foundation

Photo: So Fraiche

Since 1963, having started in 1962, SAMRO has nurtured numerous music and arts initiatives around the country. For the last 9 years this support has been cared for by the SAMRO Foundation and prior to that the SAMRO Endowment for the National Arts. From Scholarships awarded to musicians to support for a wide range of projects and programmes, the SAMRO Foundation has been a source of much needed funding, advice and endorsement in a fluctuating economy and industry. The lives of thousands of children and adults, mostly from impoverished communities, have been enriched by music education, life skills and professional opportunities. The SAMRO Foundation is proud to have been associated with numerous organisations and recipients who have done much good work.

Unfortunately, South Africa is experiencing tremendous social, political and economic challenges. Business confidence is low, and the arts sector has experienced economic decline, which has in turn affected numerous arts projects. This is now being exacerbated by the recent global crisis of COVID-19. We at the SAMRO Foundation are under pressure, and we have had to adapt, spending many hours re-aligning our strategy, assessing the impact of our programmes, and considering how we can best reduce our expenditure. Within this environment, we realised that we had no choice but to diminish the support we offer to the arts sector. It is with heavy hearts that we outline the following changes:


2020 SAMRO Music Bursaries

Since 1981 SAMRO has distributed over 2400 bursaries to music students at universities helping them achieve excellence and grow as professionals in the industry. Due to limited funds, no SAMRO Music Bursaries will be distributed in 2020.


SAMRO Overseas Scholarships Competition for Instrumentalists 2020

The SAMRO Overseas Scholarships Competition has a 57 year legacy, and has become a flagship of SAMRO’s contribution to music in South Africa. Apart from being a highlight of the annual music calendar, the competition’s laureates, like Ben Schoeman, Kesivan Naidoo, Bokani Dyer, Darren English, Prince Bulo, Levy Strauss Sekgapane, Zoe Modiga, Linda Sikhakhane, Benjamin Jephta, and Megan-Geoffrey Prins have gone on to make waves both locally and internationally. Unfortunately, this year, there will be no competition in 2020.


NGO Music Schools and Projects

Every year the SAMRO Foundation has supported numerous Non-Government Non-Profit Music Schools and Projects around the country. Not only has this fed the holistic development of the youth through arts education outside existing governmental frameworks, but it has also given them an opportunity to strive for musical excellence. The number of schools and projects to be supported by the SAMRO Foundation has been reduced. (A list of past and current recipients is available on our website.)


Stakeholder Hub

The Stakeholder Hub has provided a home in SAMRO Place for a number of innovative and important organisations in the arts. These have included ANFASA, the Arts & Culture Trust, Moshito Music Conference, and the African Cultural Heritage Trust. In November 2019 we accepted that we could no longer sustain the hub and the programme was discontinued after amicable discussions with the stakeholders who gracefully exited the programme to find alternative accommodation.



In order to decrease the overheads of the SAMRO Foundation in response to diminished budgets the SAMRO Foundation staff has been decreased from 9 to 4, and facilities have been reduced.

Last, but not least, it is with a deep sadness and a sense of regret that the SAMRO Foundation bids farewell to its founding managing director, Andre le Roux, and the current Board, whose term has come to an end.

Andre started at SAMRO in 2006 and managed the portfolio of SAMRO Endowment for the National Arts (SENA) which became the SAMRO Foundation in 2011. In addition to these portfolios he also managed the marketing and legal divisions at different points in time.

Looking forward to new opportunities in his personal mission to constructively serve and promote African arts Andre le Roux said, ‘After 14 years at SAMRO and SAMRO Foundation I have seen the organisation grow from strength to strength. Every institution has dips, every institution has challenges, and the music industry has been a particularly challenging environment. However, as I move forward to spread my wings in entrepreneurial adventures, I leave behind a strong Foundation with a capable staff. I am confident the team will be able to mould SAMRO’s CSI to align with the new strategic vision of the SAMRO Board and CEO, Mark Rosin.’

Aligned to his tenure, Andre has served on many boards as chairman, member or advisor and been instrumental in growing numerous institutions in the arts including BASA, the Market Theatre Foundation, KKNK, Music in Africa, the Stellenbosch Music Centre, the UNISA Foundation, the Arts & Culture Trust, Moshito Music Conference, Arterial Network, the International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity, the Association of Independent Record Companies of South Africa, and the South African Music Export Council. He has become a respected expert in cultural institutional matters involving strategy and governance.

SAMRO CEO Mark Rosin said, ‘I’ve known Andre for more than 20 years. Having grown a formidable reputation Andre is a valued member of the arts sector and his insights will be missed at SAMRO. As such I will retain our relationships with him as I turn the SAMRO ship around.’

The SAMRO Foundation offers its gratitude and ongoing respect to the departing Board. The Board, which has offered so much value to the organisation, has been chaired by conductor and radio personality Kutlwano Masote and his deputy, singer and academic Nomfundo Xaluva. In addition to Masote and Xaluva, departing Board members are SABC producer Tebogo Alexander, journalist Percy Mabandu, DALRO director Lazarus Serobe, and composer Professor Jeanne Zaidel-Rudolf. In the past year the SAMRO Foundation also said farewell to beloved singer Sibongile Khumalo and longstanding SAMRO specialist, Leon van Wyk.

The board members were proud of their efforts at the Foundation, with chairman Masote saying ‘It has been an honour serving music development with my colleagues on the SAMRO Foundation Board since 2016. Navigating the many challenges and uncertainties facing the Foundation over the last 12 months has been difficult and I thank my colleagues for their leadership and for remaining true to their calling.’ Deputy chair, Nomfundo Xaluva, echoed Masote’s statement, saying: ‘Serving on the board of the SAMRO Foundation has been an enriching experience for me. I have learnt lessons that will carry me through for many years to come, in all aspects of my career.’

Prof Zaidel-Rudolph saluted Andre and the SAMRO Foundation team for their ‘unbelievable vision, selfless music benevolence and generosity.’ She went on to say ‘The thousands of musicians who have benefitted from the outstretched empowering hand of the Foundation will always recall how the Foundation made their music dreams become possible – and launched many a music career on the stages of the world. I know of no other organisation in South Africa, or indeed world-wide, that has contributed in love and financial support to so many deserving young musicians –so many from under-served and underprivileged communities. I for one am proud of the work we accomplished and hope that going forward the Foundation can try to fulfil the great CSI imperative for composer-musicians that has been its raison d’etre since its inception.’

Stepping into the outgoing Board’s shoes the interim SAMRO Foundation Board will comprise SAMRO CEO Mark Rosin, Universal Music Publishing Managing Director Ryan Hill, and singer-songwriter Wendy Oldfield.

About SAMRO: Since 1961, SAMRO has been the country’s music rights champion. The company
protects the rights of composers and authors (music creators) both locally and abroad. SAMRO collects licence fees from music users including television broadcasters, radio stations, in-store radio stations, pubs, clubs, retailers, restaurants and all other businesses that use music, and redistributes them to rights holders. Today, SAMRO has grown into an internationally recognised collecting administration business representing more than 16 000 music creators. It has built a solid reputation as the primary representative of music Performing Rights in Southern Africa, and is well respected among its global peers in the music industry. SAMRO not only functions as an organization that protects the rights of music creators, but is committed to contributing to the development of music talent in South Africa. This it does through the platform of The SAMRO Foundation.

For more information on SAMRO, please visit www.samro.org.za

About The SAMRO Foundation The SAMRO Foundation (http://www.samrofoundation.org.za) is a registered non-profit organisation that replaced the SAMRO Endowment for the National Arts (SENA) in 2012. The Foundation is the social investment and music education arm of the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) Group of Companies. Since 1962, SAMRO has invested more than R100-million in supporting and nourishing the South African cultural landscape through bursaries, scholarships, commissions, the preservation of music heritage and other industry enrichment projects.

Sourced from SAMRO Foundation

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