Lebogang Rampou (35) is a member of the Ga-Rankuwa Campus’ Moving Team and self-taught opera singer.
Although he has sung from a young age, it was at the Modiri High School in Ga-Rankuwa where his Geography teacher at the time, Sheila Motshwane, who was also the school choir conductor, heard him sing for the first time. She was moved by his voice and encouraged him to join the school choir and to enter singing competitions.
Lebogang recalls how Motshwane even asked him to move into her house to practice non-stop for two weeks prior to the first competition he entered and he had to sing Mozart’s Madamina from the opera Don Giovanni.
“It was the first time that I had to sing in Italian and I remember being very anxious and Googling the storyline so that my facial expressions could at least suit the emotions of the song.” He reaped the rewards of his efforts when he came first in the first and second rounds of the competition and ended second in the third round, where he was beaten by tenor, Owen Metsileng. Metsileng progressed to the finals where he came third. He has since progressed to be a very successful opera singer and currently performs in Europe.
Due to financial constraints, Lebogang unfortunately never got the opportunity to study music full-time. Having to provide for his entire family, he had to start working after completing Matric, first at a butchery and later on at a construction company. In 2011 he joined TUT and was later on insourced as a Cleaner in 2016 and promoted to a member of the Moving Team at the Ga-Rankuwa Campus last year.
“My fellow staff members love and support my singing as I usually sing while I’m working. One of my colleagues has even booked me for a private performance at her house.”
In addition to being part of the TUT Ga-Rankuwa Campus choir, Lebogang is also a member of the Kopano Chorus, a group of about ninety singers that have performed at the South African State Theatre, among others in Madiba, The African Opera.
Lebogang also plays the jembe (a rope-tuned skin-covered goblet drum played with bare hands). His favourite composer is Mozart and he is a big fan of Luciano Pavarotti, who eventually became one of the most commercially successful tenors of all time.
Lebogang dreams of studying Vocal Art full time and on this journey has already approached staff members of the TUT’s Vocal Art programme for some voice lessons. “Working at a People’s University, I would like to stage a small concert for staff members to show them the phenomenal power of music to bring people together. Music is not only entertainment. When I sing opera, I feel connected to God,” he concludes.
To hear Lebogang sing, please click on https://youtu.be/mqoppUGQNAQ