Andile Qongqo writes notes to remember. When the artist’s fingers sweep across the
keys of a piano, a stillness descends. The smooth sounds of jazz are his forte, and in his
hands, the genre takes on an African resonance. That’s because Qongqo is narrating his
own profound tale.
Growing up in the dusty streets of Mangaung, there were no music programmes
available, As a result, Qongqo only began playing the piano at the age of 15.
To hone his talents, Qongqo practised in churches and amateur bands throughout his
teenage years. Today, he expresses the struggles, tears, and joys that he has witnessed
and experienced through music. “
Last year, Qongqo released his debut album, Q Signature, which received multiple
nominations at the 2019 Mzantsi Jazz Awards. With a licentiate diploma in Jazz Piano
from Trinity College London, Qongqo now shares his passion for the instrument with
students young and old as an instructor at the Free State Musicon.
Ahneesh Valodia’s love for Bollywood dancing lights up his eyes and ignites his soul. At
the age of eight, he began learning moves intrinsic to the genre by watching Bollywood
movies. As the vibrant colours saturated the screen, Valodia’s hands would mimic the
extravagant gestures. He dreamt of performing the Indian art form on stage for the rest
of his life. Then Valodia was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. The degenerative
muscular disorder confined him to a wheelchair, rendering him unable to perform. But
Valodia would not let go of his passion.
To keep it in his life, Valodia founded Taare, an academy located in Cape Town that
unites young people in the preservation and promotion of Bollywood dance. In addition
to creating this platform for budding performers, Valodia is also the artistic director and
choreographer of the troupe. With his knowledge of various Indian dance styles,
Valodia fuses these forms to create a unique experience that portrays its diversity.
Taare have performed their crafted shows at prestigious establishments such as the
Artscape Theatre Centre and Taj Hotel. They’ve also contributed to fundraisers for
cancer awareness and autism. In pursuing the life he’s always wanted, Valodia is
Doctor Paulo de Valdoleiros
Doctor Paulo de Valdoleiros doesn’t just attend to health problems. He restores people’s
faith in humanity. For many, the high cost of medical services derails their treatment.
But at De Valdoleiros’ clinic in Bloemfontein, patients are welcome to pay as much as
they can afford. This approach often prompts people to open up about their financial
hardships. De Valdoleiros listens earnestly, as they each echo his own background.
Though De Valdoleiros always yearned to be a doctor, his family didn’t have the funds
for his education. So he went straight to work, toiling in different careers for most of his
life. By the age of 45, De Valdoleiros couldn’t ignore his lifelong passion any longer. But
it wasn’t a simple endeavour. De Valdoleiros contacted every medical faculty in South
Africa, receiving the same response every time – his matric certificate was outdated. So
De Valdoleiros enrolled in a Bachelor of Science degree, proved that he could maintain
high results, and was finally selected to study Medicine. He graduated one month
before turning 51.
In June 2019, De Valdoleiros opened his clinic with the intention to place humanity
before business. Here, people can walk in confident that they’ll be seen by someone
who sincerely cares. De Valdoleiros’ novel practice has attracted attention throughout
South Africa, and he’s a regular guest on a televised health show. Despite his fame, De
Valdoleiros remains focused on helping others. No matter what patients pay, he’s
always giving more. The gift of kindness is priceless.