Zuko has made an extraordinary contribution to the musical life of College since his arrival at Prep in 2011. He has performed regularly for Senior Open Concerts, Youth Music Festivals, House Music Competitions and assemblies, and even in Chapel occasionally. In many ways, he has been the “House Drummer” for the whole school.
He achieved the significant milestone of Trinity College Grade 8 in Drum Kit in his Grade 11 year, when most musicians only achieve this level after leaving school. He is also a very capable Pianist and Bass Guitarist. It is safe to describe him as a multi-instrumentalist, but this by no means implies that he is a “jack of all trades and a master of none”. In fact, he is master of them all.
In addition to singing in the Chapel Choir and Chamber Choir for many years, Zuko has been an absolute stalwart of the Jazz Ensemble and has deputised on numerous occasions in the Wind Orchestra, Contemporary Band and even for the String Ensemble. He attended the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival for many years, and in 2016 was selected for the National Schools’ B Band. In 2017 he was easily the very best school drummer at the Festival. In February this year, Zuko and his long-standing musical partner, Francis Christie, performed for just over half an hour to a very large audience at the Paul Cluver Amphitheatre in the Western Cape as the warm-up act before the famous Watershed band took to the stage.
The trail that he has blazed over the past five years at College has been defined by his acute musical intuition, his enviable versatility, and the selfless generosity with which he has made and shared music. All in all, Zuko Yaka is a remarkable, immensely talented and charismatic young musician with a very bright future ahead of him.
He richly deserves this award of MUSIC HONOURS.