Top talent off to US
Port Elizabeth’s very own triple threat in the performing arts, Banele Joe, is preparing for the international stage after being selected for an all-expenses-paid trip in June to New York, where he will compete against some of the world’s best in acting, singing and modelling.
Joe, 18, will be part of Team South Africa at the 46th annual Talent America Competition.
In April, the Newton Tech High School deputy head boy was awarded the grand champion prize at the much-contested Talent Africa leg of the competition – also unlocking a bursary for full-time study courtesy of the SA Film, Acting and Theatre Academy in Johannesburg.
He had been practising after school three times a week at the Creative Arts and Music Academy in Walmer for the past three years.
“Before joining the studio I was shy about everything,” Joe said.
“I was kind of frightened to sing in front of people [and] I’d criticise my own acting.
“But after forming a relationship with the teachers I learnt to become more comfortable and really fall in love with what I do.
“It was nerve-racking – there’s months of finding the right monologues, finding the right songs and training with the teachers to make sure the technique is okay.”
Joe said he was very grateful to all his teachers at the studio “because without them none of this would be possible”.
“They gave me the opportunity to grow as an actor, as a singer and a model.
“They saw potential in me and they’ve never allowed me to give up on anything,” he said.
“There have been moments when I’ve wondered ‘who am I?’ in this big flock of actors.
“There are so many good people in PE, so many people who do what I do – but they [the teachers] have given me a lot of support and the push to always strive to do better and to learn.”
Joe said he takes criticism in his stride.
“It’s not easy to take sometimes but, at the end of the day, it can only build you up.”
The budding future entertainer said that in New York he would perform his heart out.
“I will be doing exactly what I did here [Talent Africa] – performing. But I will also be given the opportunity to go around New York and experience it.
“I will also be part of the various . . . acting and singing workshops.
“One day I’d also like to take whatever knowledge I accumulate and impart it to younger performers, be they singers, actors or dancers.”