Londiwe Khoza and Ohad Naharin
Londiwe Khoza and Ohad Naharin
Image: Supplied

Back in 2002, Rolex launched their Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, which brings together some of the world’s greatest artists with protégés in seven disciplines. The 2016-2017 initiative, sees the eighth cycle of the programme with the following esteemed mentors – Sir David Chipperfield (architecture), Mia Couto (literature), Alfonso Cuarón (film), Philip Glass (music), Joan Jonas (visual arts), Robert Lepage (theatre) and Ohad Naharin (dance).

We are extremely proud of our very own South African, Londiwe Khoza who was selected in the dance category

After a worldwide search, mentors selected their own protégés after which, each mentor-protégé pair has the freedom to work together in any way they choose for a minimum of six weeks, although they are often in contact for the entire year. Protégé’s each receive a grant of 25 000 Swiss francs in support of a new work to showcase after the mentoring year. Of course, the in-depth time that each young artist spends with the master artist is invaluable to their young careers.

‘The new intake of protégés brings the total number of emerging artists supported by Rolex since the Art’s Initiatives launch in 2002 to 50,’ said Rebecca Irvin, Head of Philanthropology at Rolex. ‘This demonstrates both the scope of the programme in unearthing the world’s best young talent and its geographical diversity. Over the next year, each of the seven protégés will have the invaluable benefit of a personal working relationship with a recognised master in his or her field. By the end of the cycle, they will all have become members of the global family of remarkable artists supported by the Rolex programme.’

Is this a family you fancy joining too? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. This year international nominators and artistic talent scouts identified 159 artists from 53 different countries to apply for mentorships. From that group, just three or four artists from each discipline were selected as finalists. It was at this stage that the mentor in each discipline met and selected his or her protégé.

We can however be extremely proud of our very own South African, Londiwe Khoza who was selected in the dance category by her mentor, Ohad Naharin from Israel. Recognised over the past five years for her exceptional talent in neoclassical and contemporary dance, as well as her dramatic skills, Khoza (22), was a soloist at the Cape Dance Company while studying at the Cape Academy of Performing Arts. She recently performed with the Joburg Ballet, the country’s most prestigious ballet company.

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