On the occasion of her 80th birthday, the University of Pretoria will host a gala fundraising concert in honour of South Africa’s most celebrated opera diva, Mimi Coertse – also affectionately known as Onse Mimi. The University wishes to honour her for the immense role she has played in discovering music talent in South Africa, and then nurturing and moulding these people to become the world stars that some of them have already become. The purpose of the event is also to raise funds for the Mimi Coertse Vocal Scholarship that provides financial aid to singers younger than 30, to enable them to further their studies at a tertiary institution.
The Mimi Coertse Vocal Scholarship opens the door to deserving young singers to gain international recognition. The University of Pretoria has been administering and awarding the scholarship since 1959 when the late tenor, Gert Potgieter, became the first recipient. Several South African singers, who have received this coveted scholarship, have established themselves as leading opera singers in South Africa and abroad. Among these are the well-known Hans van Heerden (1961), Carla Pohl (1966), Rouel Beukes (1980), Michelle Breedt (1986) and the promising young tenor from Bloemfontein, Serame Thoabala (2008).