The Songwriter’s Toolkit™

Turning music notes into money notes


Two Vivacious Voice and two Songwriter’s Toolkit scholarships are awarded every three months to highly talented individuals from historically disadvantaged backgrounds (scrol down to *** to read about previous recipients of scholarships).


Candidates must  be able to submit a demo, and or/lyrics/poetry/essay he/she has recently written, and set up an appointment with the lecturer in your area. To apply, motivate in not more than 30 words why you should be considered for a scholarship. Include your full name and contactable telephone numbers, and send it to or post it to

Vivacious Voice/Songwriter’s Toolkit Scholarship
P.O. Box 453
Cape Town

or phone 0826211305




Katherine Traut

Katherine Traut is from Grassy Park, Cape Town. “Being exposed to the performing-arts industry since I was a child, I grew up to become a very creative person.” She is a photographer for UCT’s Communication and Marketing Department. She has a passion for songwriting as well as playing the guitar. Her influences are John Legend, Claire Phillips and Alicia Keys. She tries not to restrict herself to one type of music and listens to Godessa, Jamiroquai, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and a local band Stereo Zen. The art industry plays a huge part in her life, she says “without it I wouldn’t be who I am today.”


Xoliswa Theletsane

Xoliswa Theletsane (34) grew up in Langa, Cape Town. She works as a credit controller for a petrol company. From 1997 tot 1999 she worked as a backing vocalist for Sylvia Mdunyelwa, Caiphus Simenya and Peter Ndala at the Cape Town jazz club, Mannenbergs. Her inspirations are Miriam Makeba, Bette Middler, Donnie MacLachlan and Patti Labelle. She wants to write her own songs and become an international sensation.


Luthando Tyaityimba

Luthando Tyaityimba (32), orginally from Butterworth near Umtata in the Eastern Cape, is a stock controller for a building supplies company in Diep River, Cape Town. He wants to become known and respected as a singer-songwriter in Africa, taking isicatha miya (the choral style of e.g. Ladysmith Black Mambazo) to a new level. His influences are Judy Boucher, Barry White, Lucky Dube and Mandoza. He had his own boys choir in Butterworth which he started in high school when he was 19.


Elise Fernandez

At the age of 17 she was involved in a hip-hop group and started writing rap lyrics and poetry. She worked in a biscuit factory as a means of earning an income. After a while she dumped her underpaid factory job and moved into the film industry and worked as a trainee producer and director. She says that “I believe that with the correct guidance I will be empowered to contribute towards the development and guidance of other struggling artists such as myself.”


Melusi Khumalo (20)

Melusi, a rapper, originally from Empangeni, KZN, aka Nkuzi Bomvu (a nick name from his childhood meaning ‘red ox’), performs in clubs around Cape Town. He makes jazzy, ‘conscious’ beats, rapping about real life, not based on ungrounded fantasies like “bling-bling Nelly”. His style is similar to Proverb (locally) and Nas (Queens, USA). He wants to offer something different to the South African and international music market with his unique blend of Zulu and English lyrics. He is part of a Cape Town group (or ‘crew), Black Clan.


Kevin Magombo (25)

Kevin, from Blantyre, Malawi, 700 km south of Lilongwe (the capital of Malawi), works as a housekeeper in Durbanville. He came to South Africa in December 2006 to save money to buy music gear in order to record his own music in Malawi. He plays the guitar and keyboard, and studied philosophy at St. Johns Seminary in Mangochi (close to Lake Malawi). He likes reggae musicians like Burning Spear and hip-hop artists like 50 Cent.


Phumlani Ngqase (28)

Phumlani is a hip-hop rapper from Guguletu. He grew up in Mdantsane, a township outside of East London. He ‘rhymes’ in English and Xhosa, influenced by Squata Camp, Pro, DMX, and Wutang Clan. From 2002 to 2004 he served as a minister in Utah, US. Although his lyrics aren’t at all gospel-orientated, he says that he’s drawn a lot of inspiration from his Christian faith. Being a missionary also had added benefits: “In the township school that I attended, we were taught English as a second language, but we rarely got the chance to speak it. Since I’ve been ministering, I can express myself more accurately in the language. It’s helped me with writing better lyrics, and standing my ground in the music business world.”

© Copyright Philip de Villiers 2007-2010


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