UFH's D'Mitri does it again on the global stage

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Internationally acclaimed opera singer, Sazi Gcaba, a University of Fort Hare (UFH) Music graduate who currently works as the acting artistic coordinator at the Eastern Cape Audio Visual Centre (EVAVC) at UFH has added another prestigious honour to his impressive singing career.

Gcaba, affectionately known as D'Mitri, was recently placed third in the Birmingham International Competition, further cementing his status as one of the premier operatic performers on the global stage. 

The classical music competition is held virtually, offering professional and young musicians an opportunity to showcase their talent on a global stage. 
 
As a student, Sazi won several international opera singing competitions. He performed for the President of South Africa during a visit to UFH and also serenaded guests during several graduation ceremonies.
 
The 25-year-old who hails from Flagstaff in the Eastern Cape rose to stardom in his second year of study at the UFH Music Department when after several rounds of meticulous judging by acclaimed opera maestros such as Sibongile Khumalo (late); Andrew Staples and Marsha Thompson, was announced the winner of the London-based Voices of South Africa International Opera (VOSA) 2020 online competition in the under 22 years category.

The VOSA victory was the first of many international opera competitions he went on to claim – deservingly so.

He won the 2021 Aspiring Opera Singing Voice Competition under the Emerging Artist Category – a US-based competition that aims to create a platform for music students around the world to showcase their talents.  In the competition, he was selected out of 121 music students worldwide who submitted their pre-recorded auditions. The judges’ citation read: “Out of 121 videos, your performance exemplified a combination of stellar technique, and great acting skills, creating a captivating performance.”

He is also the winner of the 2021 Online London International Music; the 2022 Medici International and 2023 the Birmingham International Competitions.

In April 2022, he was selected to join 20 opera singers from around the world in an international fundraising event for Ukraine war victims. The Artist for Peace production was organized by Opera Cecilia, an international opera company.

Speaking to local media about his latest accolade, Sazi described singing not as a competition but as a way of showcasing what a talent can do in one's life. "To me, it's not so much about competing but about establishing relations, building knowl My vision is that the province creates its own opportunities, like in big cities sponsors should come on board to build our artists of any genre edge and experience and education for one to succeed in the field," Gcaba said. 
 
He was introduced to music by a teacher and said he had never anticipated one day his name would appear internationally. "I did not grow up in a musical family so me even thinking that I'll one day sing is a lot, but most importantly getting recognised internationally is huge for me and encouraging. 
 
As the Acting Artistic Coordinator, Sazi is tasked with the role of identifying musicians, of all genres, with raw talent who come from underprivileged backgrounds in the Eastern Cape, developing that talent and ultimately assisting them in recording their music at the state-of-the-art recording studio housed at the ECVAC. Last week the centre hosted trueFM's talent search. "I'm also working on a programme that I wish to start early this year." 
 
He said the province was a hub of talent but with not so many opportunities. "My vision is that the province creates its own opportunities, like in big cities sponsors should come on board to build our artists of any genre. 
 
"Our Eastern Cape-born musicians have to go to Joburg and Cape Town or Durban to make it. "Why can't we build our own opportunities as a province and bring back our artists?" he told the media.
 
*Additional Reporting: DispatchLIVE*