Local prodigy heads to music school in England
From strumming his first guitar at age seven, Luthando Jackson (12), Pietermaritzburg’s very own superstar, flew to London on Monday on a musical scholarship.
Luthando, known as Pietermaritzburg’s “young guitar prodigy”, visited London in January this year after he was invited to audition for a musical scholarship at the Yehudi Menuhin School.
The Yehudi Menuhin School is a specialist music school in Surrey, England, founded in 1963 by world famous violinist Yehudi Menuhin.
The school is one of five established music schools for school-age children in the UK.
Luthando’s invitation for the audition came after the self-taught guitarist, a Grade 7 pupil at Epworth School, caught the eye of one of the school’s teachers while performing in London in 2016.
Surrounded by his very best friends, school teachers and his father, Luthando said his goodbyes on Monday before flying to London late on Monday afternoon.
Luthando’s father, Oupa Jackson, said he had mixed feelings about his son’s departure.
“I am partly excited and sad as well,” said Oupa. “It is a difficult moment for me, the family and especially my wife because he is the youngest.
“He is just 12 years old and it will be a long journey but we are excited because this is the start of something new that we know will bear fruit,” he said.
“Maybe when he comes back he will be a world famous superstar,” said Oupa.
Luthando said on Monday that he was “kind of scared and terrified” as well as happy, however, he said he felt “mostly sad” as he would be leaving his friends and family behind.
“Going overseas will help me further my career but at the moment, I am more sad than anything else.
“The hardest part is going to a place I do not know and having to leave my family and friends behind.”
Luthando’s Grade 7 class teacher at Epworth, Jan Hendrik van Tonder, said the school would be sad to see Luthando leave as he had become part of the “Epworth family”.
He said the scholarship would be a “great stepping stone” for Luthando and that as long as he remained true to himself, he would do well and “make waves”.
Luthando also played at the International Jazz Extravaganza at the Durban ICC and performed at The Witness’ 170th year celebration in 2016.
Last year he was invited to attend the World Youth Guitar Festival in Cheltenham, England.