Never Give Up on Your Dreams – Gumede

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Never Give Up on Your Dreams – Gumede

Never Give Up on Your Dreams – Gumede

Twenty-one-year-old Isaac Luyanda Gumede joined the University of Zululand (UNIZULU) in 2019 straight out of Groutville High School where he had matriculated as one of the school’s top achievers.

He enrolled for a Bachelor of Arts in Drama Theatre and Performance in the Faculty of Humanities and social Sciences. On Thursday, 20 April 2023, Gumede finally experienced the joy and fulfilment of ascending the King Bhekuzulu Hall graduation stage. At that very moment, he changed the course of nature by becoming the first person in his family to ever graduate from a higher education institution – a feat  the graduate is extremely happy about.

Gumede grew up in a rural place called Mnqobokazi in Hluhluwe where he lived with his grandmother and 10 other family members. He later relocated to eTete in Stanger, living with his mother and two siblings while studying at Groutville High School. Like many of his fellow students, he comes from disadvantaged family and was therefore fully funded by National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) throughout the course of his tertiary education.

Being a cast member in several plays in the Creative Arts Department, directing and working behind the scenes at some of the department’s productions at his young age were some of the best moments in tertiary for Gumede. It was during such times that he confirmed that he truly wanted to carry out his career in the arts.

He has participated in theatre productions since high school. In 2018, he played in A Midsummer Night’s Dream by the Durban University of Technology. He performed this at Shakespeare Schools Arts Festival. In 2022, he was part of UNIZULU’s Iqhude : A Reawakening of the People of the Land which was performed at the National Arts Festival in Makhanda, formerly known as Grahamstown. He also played in Controversy by Mbusufikile Arts Academy in 2022 – this presented at KwaMashu Community Advancement Project during the Insika yamadoda Festival. Furthermore, he took part in UNIZULU’s Faces and ALLY “The Algorithm” in 2022 and 2023, respectively.

Gumede has been passionate about the arts from his early primary school days, this triggered by the drama activities that were organised by the school. Even though he was discouraged by a few people, including his teachers, Gumede constantly focused on his dream. “If you [let go of] your dream, you are only betraying yourself,” Gumede reckoned.

He extended his gratitude to Masedi Manenye, a movement lecturer in the Department of Creative Arts. “Mr Masedi has been there when I needed him throughout my academic journey. I am grateful to [have] met and worked with him. He inspired me a lot,” he said.

– Mbuyiselo B. Mlaba

Picture by: James Thwala

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