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One of eight embarks on a new experience

University of the Free State student, Kagiso Ramosa, 19, plays the alto saxophone with his first attempt for glory at the 2021 National Youth Music Competition (NYMC).

Hailing from Johannesburg, this rising star is the only one in the family of eight who plays music. He has two brothers and three sisters.

Currently, he is lectured by Danré Strydom, clarinet and saxophone lecturer at the University of the Free State. His musical career started at age 12 when his parents discovered the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra Company in the township where his grandmother resides.

There the rising star joined the company, playing the recorder. A year later they offered him to choose an instrument. He then moved on to the clarinet. Nhlanhla Tshabalala was his first clarinet teacher.

Although his parents are not instrumentalists or practising musicians, both are leaders in their respective church choirs. According to him, his family is accepting and understanding when he needs to practise at home. They encourage him, but admits that often, “they don’t enjoy it as they can get irritated by repetition of sections,” he chuckles.

When time allows, Kagiso aims to practise at least two to four hours per day. His extramural activities include gaming, swimming, watching movies and reading books.

The young saxophonist's favourite composer is Charlie Parker, a famous American jazz saxophonist. He was a revolutionary jazz saxophonist, who was and still is observed as a pioneer in the jazz community. He has inspired not only Kagiso but many other professional saxophonists.

On completion of his studies, he would like to continue his passion for music, by being a professional musician and teacher.

With the life motto: “Hard work pays off,” he entered the competition to experience something he has not done before as a young aspiring musician. “I have never participated in a competition before. The NYMC offers me the opportunity to meet new musicians, whom I know will inspire me to improve. Secondly, I am competing to be seen and recognised by my peers in hope of future collaborations,” he says self-assured.