Award goes to Henriette Weber

Henriette Weber won the Ministerial Youth Excellence Award.

Former Grassy Park resident Henriette Weber, who is the Head of Department at the University of the Western Cape’s (UWC) Centre for Performing Arts (CPA), won the Ministerial Youth Excellence Award, at the City Hall, in Cape Town, on Monday June 20.

Ms Weber was honoured with the award for Service and Leadership.

She said she was pleased and grateful to receive the award, as well as for the experiences she has had since arriving at UWC in 1986 as a music student, and returning to head the centre five years ago.

“I’m extremely humbled by this award, and I am looking forward to doing much more in the community and with the centre at UWC.”

Born in Grassy Park, Ms Weber attended Plantation Primary School, and Wynberg Senior Secondary, but she moved out of the area 15 years ago and now lives in Green Point.

After receiving the award she immediately touched base with the community to seek out youth with musical talent who need training. “I have been in touch with community leaders from Parkwood and Grassy Park and will finalise to get together with youth,” Ms Weber said.

Pastor Paul Phillips is one of the Parkwood leaders who Ms Weber spoke to.

“She has been in touch with us and we are busy harvesting youth who have musical talent or some knowledge of music, for her to assess. She will then decide what kind of training they need. Some of our youth are not academically inclined, but they are creative. Those who qualify basically need to be able to play an instru- ment.”

Ms Weber started her career as an accompanist in the Human Movement Science Department at the Bellville College of Education in 1989.

Over the next 15 years, from 1990 to 2005, she was appointed by the Western Cape Education Department as a music instrumental teacher, teaching at primary and high schools in Mitchell’s Plain, Gugulethu and Montana. She managed the Outreach and Education Programme at the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra from 2003 to 2011, prior to her appointment at UWC.

In 2011, Ms Weber started at UWC, where she succeeded Emeritus Professor Nicholas Basson – who was her organ lecturer as a student – as the Director of the Centre for the Performing Arts.

She has made it her mission, as director, to focus on community engagement, lifelong learning and distance learning – exemplified in the accredited music courses offered at the CPA, which provide quality music education to the many talented community music practitioners from financially marginalised communities of the Western Cape.

In addition to that, Ms Weber started the UWC Jazz Combo, which is popular in Cape Town, launched the UWC Chamber Music Institute with the Arianna String Quartet from the University of Missouri, St Louis, and has guided many talented students through their endeavours.

Last year, she received the Department of Cultural Affairs’ Award for Outstanding Achievement for Youth in the Arts, acknowledging her achievements and those of the Centre for the Performing Arts.

For more information about UWC’s Centre for Perform- ing Arts, contact Ms Weber on 076 4011 667 or via email at hweber@uwc.ac.za