You have to have a certain kind of confidence to stand on that podium and lift a baton and conduct people who are looking at you saying, ‘but she’s a woman’, because they are used to these old men standing in front of them, conducting. You have to walk in there with a certain kind of reverence and confidence.”
Ofentse Pitse is the 27-year-old Black South African woman challenging the status quo in classical music. Born in Mabopane, the musician grew up in a single-parent home as the granddaughter of late orchestra conductor and trumpet player, Otto Pitse.
Learning her first instrument at age 12, she credits her supportive family for nurturing her talents, talents which have led her to become the first Black woman in S.A. to conduct and own the first all-Black orchestra.
“I know I’ve worked extremely hard through the years. I know I put I the efforts and show up even when no one is watching.
“Having to move to move back home out of really nice apartments. Also, having to also return my BMW sports car, for the sake of this narrative, and dream.
“I will speak on the battle, the wounds, the war. How I nearly lost my life, and am still fighting for it.
“We will talk that one day… For now. This means that someone out there is watching, and notices. This means new opportunities for these boys and girls from the hood. This is – the possibility. This is – representation for the black “classical” world.”