Marimba sounds could be heard in the background as eager learners make their way to the multi-purpose auditorium at the University of Mpumalanga for the Art Focused day earlier today. The art day is one of the activities of the Heritage Career Expo which is now in its 3rd year. Themed “Unlocking The Wealth In Our Heritage” the expo aims to give learners insights into careers within the arts and culture sectors including but not limited to fashion, music, arts and food. The expo is the brainchild of the deputy minister of higher education and training, Mr Buti Manamela. To make this day a success the department partnered with Culture, Art, Tourism, Hospitality, and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA) as well as other SETA’s and other local stakeholders. As 200 odd Grade 10- 12 learners from different schools in Mbombela warmed their seats in the auditorium, different exhibitors outside were getting themselves ready to share information about possible careers in the arts and culture sectors. The colourful art day is preceded by the Food and Fashion Days as well as roundtable discussions and masterclasses. The preceding masterclasses were led by master champions like Zoe Modiga for music, Gregory Maqoma for dance and Apiwe Nxusani-Mawela for food. The 84-year-old Noria Mabasa was today’s master champion who received a standing ovation from the audience as she ascended the podium to craft a wood sculpture in full view of everyone. Mabasa shared her life story with the learners and answered some of their questions. “Those of you who are lucky to have met me, one of you might have the passion that says, ‘I too want to be like Gogo’” Mabasa said through an interpreter. Over the years Mabasa has received national and international awards and accolades for her outstanding artistic work. Addressing the learners Manamela emphasised the importance of this day, “we see many of these careers, be it film, interior design, music, photography and art in general, we see them as side hustles, and we don’t think that we can go to school for them an improve on the natural talent you have”. The expo also aims to restore and transfer indigenous skills and knowledge to the future generations. Present on the day were games like diketo, morabaraba as well as kgati. To further ensure that learners have the necessary support when choosing their careers, there was a educators capacitation workshop held. The goal is to also give educators insights about careers in the heritage sector as well as different institutions of higher learning. “Since 2018 I have been helping learners to apply to universities, but now I will change my approach to also incorporate TVET colleges as I have learned that they provide both practical and theory knowledge” said Phindile Makhanya an educator from Sibhulo Secondary School. The deputy minister then conferred the educators with certificates of recognition. Come 12 August 2022, all roads will lead to Majuba TVET College in Newcastle for the closing even of the Heritage Career Expo.