Ita��s almost two decades since Inkululeko Yabatsha School of Arts (Iyasa) was established and since its establishment, it has produced the most significant talent Bulawayo has ever seen.
When Nkululeko Dube, the founder of the arts institute retired early from being a teacher and a drama patron at Mpopoma High School in the year 2000, grooming and nurturing raw talent hidden in most dusty streets of the city was always a dream.
With little resources and back-up back then, Dube managed to conscript the students he nurtured while he was still a drama patron at Mpopoma High.
These are none other than Sandra Ndebele, the Magonya sisters Silethemba and Sphephiso, smooth voiced European-based songstress Noma Nkwali and Future Madziwa, to mention a few.
The raw talent vested in these artistes is the one which announced the arrival of Iyasa to the world arts stage as it paved way for touring Europe for most Bulawayo dance ensembles performing in countries like Canada, Germany, Estonia, Austria and the Netherlands.
What Dube figured as a pipe dream was turned into reality, changing the lives and wishes of Kasi gifted children into actuality.
a�?It took courage for me to leave my teaching job and lead a group of naA?ve children who all believed I was the chosen one to take them to a promised land where they could realise their talent and make their dreams come true.
a�?With Goda��s grace and hard work we found ourselves touring the world and a lot of dreams have been fulfilled so far as we have so many graduates who have further gone to pursue successful solo careers and I am very proud of them,a�? said Nkululeko, who is on a four- month tour in Austria with the present crop of Iyasa.
One of the graduates who has a colourful musical career, Sandra Ndebele, who scooped two gongs at this yeara��s Roil Bulawayo Arts Awards (RoilBAA) for Female Artiste of the Year and Outstanding Musical Video revealed that just like a crawling toddler learning to walk, it all started at the grassroots level for her to be able to stand tall on her own feet.
a�?I am excited about my successful music career and all the accolades I have won in my life including the current RoilBAA, credit has to be given to Iyasa because thata��s where it all began. We were groomed to become excellent graduates, thata��s why most of us are excelling in our solo careers,a�? said Sandra.
Leadership skills are an inborn thing but intelligent candidates with potential and influence can be groomed to become brilliant leaders, such can be said about another former Iyasa member Phibion Ncube, who is the founder and director of Ezimnyama Dance Ensemble.
With the leadership skills he acquired while he was still a student at Iyasa, Phibion turned the theoretical side of managing an arts ensemble into practice and a successful multi-award winning dance group Ezimnyama was born.
a�?I learnt a lot while I was still at Iyasa, when I graduated I decided to form Ezimnyama and I am grateful the group has done well so far scooping two awards at the recent RoilBAA for Outstanding Dance Group with our own Julius Hlabangana scooping the Outstanding Male Dancer Award,a�? said Phibion.
The mastermind behind these successful artistes, Nkululeko, refuses to take personal credit for the success of his former students.
Instead, he believes they are successful because they are hard workers. He also congratulated them for winning big at the RoilBAA.