Wilna Liebenberg

Wilna Liebenberg grew up in Namibia and after matriculating in 1984, enrolled as a BMus student at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. As a student she received the Niki Antoniadis Prize for Singing and the Het Jan Marais Prize giving her the opportunity to study Singing in Urbino and Pesaro, Italy.

Wilna Liebenberg returned to Namibia in 1990 as a teacher and examiner for the external Grade 10 music examinations, as well as the accompanist of the National Youth Choir of Namibia.  In 1991, she won the Singing section at the International Mozart Competition. While being a teacher at Windhoek High School and a lecturer at the University of Namibia, she became the conductor of the National Youth Choir of Namibia in 1991 – 1994 and the conductor of The University of Namibia Choir in 1992 – 1994.  Wilna was also awarded the College for the Arts Singing Prize from 1990 to 1993 and the Cantare Audire Singing Prize in 1994. She was a soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra numerous times whilst staying in Windhoek. In 1994 she became the first Namibian candidate for the UNISA Overseas Competition after passing her UNISA Teaching Licenciate with 94%.

She moved to the Southern part of Namibia in 1995 to do research on the indigenous songs of the Nama – she has transcribed numerous songs in the Khoekhoegowab language and other Namibian indigenous songs that are performed by choirs worldwide. While staying in the Southern region of Namibia, she founded the PK de Villiers School choir (Keetmanshoop) in 1995 and for two years running this prestigious school choir won the School – and Youth choir category of the International ATKV Choir competition in South Africa. In 1997 the Southern Youth Choir of Namibia under her directorship won the Roodepoort Eisteddfod choir category. In 1995 and 1997, Wilna was an adjudicator at the Namibia Broadcast Corporation “Music Makers” Competition.

She holds Royal Schools, Trinity and UNISA Licenciates in Singing and a Trinity GuildHall Licenciate in Vocal Teaching (all passed with distinction).

Bursaries, solo singing and choir singing has taken her all over the world: highlights being performing with the Mormon Tabernacle choir in Salt Lake City, Utah, and performing in the Cairo Opera House. Another highlight is taking the National Youth Choir of Namibia to Norway in 1994, touring with the Swakopmund Männer Gesangverein to Germany in 2001 and numerous tours with the Cgals Chamber Choir.

She moved to Swakopmund in 1998 and started a music school where singing, piano, classical guitar, rhythm guitar, recorder, drum kit and flute are taught. In the past few years, she has concentrated on developing individual local talents and has also passed Trinity GuildHall Advanced Ensemble examination with 98% and the UNISA and ABRSM Advanced Ensemble examinations with her singing partner, Karen Miller, all with Distinction.

She believes in educating the future music teacher of Namibia and am proud that the youngsters that started a few years ago are reaching the Grade 8 and beyond levels in their respective instruments. Some of her students are studying BMus and BMusHon. The University of South Africa honored her for the excellent results her students achieved for their music examinations in 2011, this resulting in her students obtaining an above 80% average every year since 2011. At this stage, she is putting in a lot of energy in getting the music department of the International School of Walvis Bay up to speed. Since started, students of the school have passed IGCSE and AS level Music with excellent results and Wilna is also an internal assessor for Cambridge. She loves developing teaching talent and numerous excellent musicians have passed through her hands: Gerson Mwatile (drumming teacher), Engelhardt Unaeb (bass and Namibian performer/teacher) Andra (guitarist and singer), Vaughn Ahrens (Namibian singer and award winner), Bianca Nel (winner of the Nelie du Toit prize in 2014), Ning Wei Shen (UNISA theory prize winner and 2020 Grade 8 Finalist currently a Music Honors student at the Open University, Scotland) , Claudia Garcia Garcia (flautist, BMusHon student).

She especially loves working with her friend and music colleage, Vera Malherbe.