The talented mezzo-soprano, who hails from Mookgophong (Naboomspruit) in the Limpopo province, says it was like a dream coming true when she heard the good news earlier this month, and that it took some time to sink in.
The prestigious travel bursaries are awarded every year to students and/or members of junior lecturer status and cover the cost of an all-expenses-paid three-week educational tour of England and Scotland and a stop-over in Addis Ababa to visit the African Union.
The bursaries were established in terms of the will of Sir Abe Bailey, who died in 1940. The objectives of the travel bursary are, among others, to broaden the views of young South Africans, to effect greater cooperation and understanding of different viewpoints and opinions among those with various language and cultural backgrounds, and to encourage open debate that demonstrates leadership and mutual respect of others.
The host in the United Kingdom is the Goodenough College in London. The selected travel bursars from South African universities will gather in Cape Town on 24 November, spend three days for orientation, and depart for Addis Ababa on 27 November, and then go on to London on 30 November.
Anne-marie has travelled abroad before. The first time was in 2013 when she participated in the World Championships for Performing Arts in Los Angeles, USA, where she bagged two bronze medals for her singing. In 2014, she represented her school, the Hans Strijdom High School, at a field hockey tournament in China.
Anne-marie says as a child she has always participated in cultural activities and that the classical music bug bit her when she was about 13. Next year she plans to enrol at UCT or Stellenbosch University for further studies in Vocal Art and hopes to perform on the mother city’s stages where, she says, she is at her happiest. Her other passion is animals, and studying Animal Sciences, was a close second call when she had to decide on a career.
Her opera idols are German operatic tenor, Jonas Kaufmann, and one of America's finest artists and singers, Frederica von Stade, who is also a mezzo-soprano.
Anne-marie has two sisters, Claudi and Annami, a political reporter at Business Day and an online editor at Huisgenoot/You, respectively, as well as a younger brother, Rodney van Deventer, who is still at school. Her mom, also Anne-marie, is the principal of the Wonderland Nursery School in Mookgophong.
The Abe Bailey Travel and Bursary Tour will officially end in London on 21 December.