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UJ Cum Laude Economics graduate also a musical prodigy

It is not often that one gets the privilege to be the main performer at his own graduation ceremony. For University of Johannesburg (UJ) Choir soloist and basketball player, Sibusiso Ngobese this will be a memorable event, as he will not only be receiving his degree in Economics and Econometrics, graduating Cum Laude on his birthday, 14 March, but also performing as a soloist at the official ceremony.


Ngobese, now doing an Honours ​in Econometrics, is a man of many talents, and at just 21 years old has many promising career opportunities. Growing up in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal, he started singing at the tender age of nine in his primary school choir as a soprano. He was later selected to sing for the Northern KwaZulu-Natal Youth choir in 2007, where he worked with the likes of Mr W Silk, Ms S. van Amstel and Ms A Hibbert – who all guided Ngobese in his early singing career. The fledgling musician ultimately matured into the young man who is now under the baton of Ms Rennette Bouwer, the UJ Choirmistress.
“I was born with the gift of singing, from childhood I think not a day goes by without me singing. However it is not just the singing I enjoy, I love music – from classical and Opera to isicathmiya and jazz, there is this unexplainable feeling which I get when I’m singing or listening to music,” says Ngobese.

Asked what he does in preparation for his solo performances at the official UJ events, Ngobese says he does numerous singing exercises, which he has learned over the years from all his coaches and mentors. “Sometimes now and then I take a Halls or a fisherman mint.” Despite not having performed at any international events outside of South Africa, Ngobese has had the pleasure of singing at the Metropolis Meeting that was hosted by the City of Johannesburg where 200 of the 500 delegates attending the event were mayors from across the globe.

Caught up in the midst of the things he loves, Ngobese says time management, prioritising and planning have allowed him to manage all of his activities. “I think the main thing is that I love what I do – be it academic, sports or singing, so it does not feel like a duty but rather enjoyment for me.
“First of all it is an honour to sing at any graduation ceremony, be it with the choir or as a soloist. Singing at my own graduation is still unbelievable and I am truly blessed to have that opportunity. I feel a bit of pressure and am somewhat nervous for it will be an important event in my life, and I am grateful to Ms Bouwer for making this opportunity possible,” explains Ngobese.
Ngobese does not believe in boxing himself into the role of economist or performer; he wants to do it all. Asked which career path he would take if he had to choose between the two, he says: “I think I can be equally devoted to both careers. I’ll be an economics professional by day and performer by night,” he added.
This young gradate also realises that the overall student experience he has had at UJ, is part in parcel of his journey – how he arrived at this point in his life and the many prospects that lie ahead for him. “The University of Johannesburg has contributed enormously to my growth, from being taught by brilliant lecturers and tutors over the years, mentorship and guidance under the house committee at the residence. UJ has granted me much exposure from the performances I have been performing at. UJ has endless opportunities and the accessibility of resources truly the University a place where one can become what they would like to be,” says Ngobese


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