Every other year since 2002, the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative has brought together leading artists, writers, architects, musicians, film-makers, theatre directors and other creative titans with early-career contenders. Past mentors include Magaret Atwood, David Hockney and Anish Kapoor. In November 2016 we profiled the latest seven lucky protégés, paired with guiding lights such as Philip Glass, David Chipperfield and Robert Lepage. The protégés reveal what mentoring has meant to them and how their lives have changed as a result.

Londiwe Khoza was born in Soweto, South Africa, and became a soloist in the Cape Dance Company while still studying at the Cape Academy of Performing Arts. In 2016, she joined Batsheva – The Young Ensemble in Tel Aviv, which is part of the Batsheva Dance Company, of which her mentor, Ohad Naharin, is artistic director.

W*: How much time have you been able to spend with Ohad Naharin over the period of the programme?
Londiwe Khoza: I was lucky enough to be in a situation of always being in his environment, regardless of whether or not I saw him. I was constantly learning every day, even when I didn’t see him. We’ve had a very meaningful time together so far and, as the year unfolded, we worked more closely together. I’m so happy that I could be in such a position.

W*: Where did you meet up?
LK: Batsheva is based at the Suzanne Dellal Center [Tel Aviv] and that’s where we spent all of our time. Between Ohad’s busy schedule and the schedule of the ensemble, we didn’t spend all day every day together, but we’ve spent a good amount of time together.

W*: Do you think this year has changed you?
LK: I feel as though my approach to my work has changed. I’ve changed and developed so much as a dancer and embarked on this new journey of self-discovery.

W*: What work is coming up next for you?
LK: My contract with Ensemble Batsheva began in August, so hopefully a long relationship with Batsheva Dance Company. The 2017/2018 season is very exciting.

W*: If you had to sum up the scheme in just a few words, what would you say?
LK: It’s an incredible initiative that changes the lives of young artists, allowing them the opportunity to learn from a master in a professional environment – it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Rolex should be so proud of the work it has done and the opportunities it has created, as well as the lives it has changed.

As originally featured in the November 2017 issue of Wallpaper* (W*224)