Sound Engineer beats brain disease and graduates with a Bachelor of Music

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After producing music as a Sound Engineer for over two decades, Sinethemba Bili aged 43 enrolled at UFH to put a qualification behind his music career, this week he graduateed with a Bachelor of Music.

Sinethemba who hails from Pirie Trust in Dimbaza in Eastern Cape has worked with various local artists, such as the Lord of Comforters and Stars of Tomorrow gospel groups.

He started his music career in his late teen playing the keyboard in church.

“I always had a passion for music and wanted to learn and educate myself within its discipline. I enrolled at UFH Music Department and finally found my niche,” said Sinethemba who hails from Pirie Trust in Dimbaza in Eastern Cape.

As a Bachelor of Music graduate, he majored in Jazz Piano Performance, Music Technology, Contemporary Arranging and Advanced Harmony.

He commenced his studies in 2016. However, his journey to graduation hit a snag in 2018 when he fell ill and was diagnosed with meningitis - an inflammation (swelling) of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.

“This was a difficult time for me as I was writing my dissertation. I had to put a halt on my studies and focus on my health.”

He spent two months in hospital and a few more months recovering at home. In 2019 he decided to give it another try at pursuing his studies. “I enrolled again, not fully recovered, but I was determined to further and complete my studies.”

He continued his studies in 2020. Upon his return, Sinethemba was appointed as a tutor at the Music Department in 2021 and earlier this year he joined the Eastern Cape Audio Visual Center (ECAVC) ECAVC staff as a Sound Engineer.

 “It was not been an easy journey but my faith always sustained me. I remained focused and faced the hurdles in my way heads on. I am finally graduating despite the challenges.”

On his graduation day, Sinethemba was accompanied by his lovely wife who he regards as his greatest supporter.

He intends to give back to the community by sharing his musical talent and knowledge by teaching music to young underprivileged children.

“I cannot wait to see what opportunities await me. I want to inspire other students who might see obstacles as limitations to see beyond what they see and envision greater sights,” he said.