Sheldon Rocha Leal


Dr Sheldon Rocha Leal is the director of culture and music at Southdowns College in Pretoria, South Africa.

Southdowns College is a private college that forms part of the AdvTech group of schools. Leal holds a PhD in Music Industry and Curriculum Design from the University of the Free State as well as a Masters degree in Music Industry and Education and Honours degree in Music Education, Arts and Culture Management and Technology in Music Education from the University of Pretoria. He also holds a BA from UNISA in Law and Psychology.

Leal has been director at the school for over a decade. He also runs the school’s afternoon music academy which serve as a magnet for the discovery of talented individuals for the main school, as well as serving as a means to expand the music department to the wider community.

Previously he was the national head of sound engineering and music for EduCor and prior to that he was the head of popular music at the National School of the Arts. Leal sat on a committee that generated the present national music curriculum for GET, FET and HE as well as committees that established a youth arts festival in Johannesburg and doing research and hosting a show for the United Nations on the influence of South African on international music trends. He was also a part-time lecturer at Allenby and the University of Pretoria.

Leal has judged and adjudicated various music competitions such as the St Andrew’s Viebz Competition, the Radio Pulpit Gospel Competition, University of Pretoria Acapella Competition, the National Eisteddfod, Springs Eisteddfod, Randfontein Arts Festival and Nelspruit Eisteddfod. He also served as a vocal mentor on the Angolan version of The Voice.

Besides an educator, academic and music pedagogue, he is also a singer and songwriter and has written songs for artists such as RJ Benjamin, Karen of Idols and Lira. Leal is a registered member of SAMRO and has presented various talks and workshops at Moshito. He has also been a guest speaker at the IEB National Music Conference as well as the Nelspruit Arts Festival.


Today, 50 years ago would have been the penultimate day Woodstock. I therefore decided to write this article in which I interrogated the SA connection to this historically significant music festival

Finished reading a book entitled “Record Store Days” by Calamar and Gallo, which made me reflect on my own experiences in record stores in SA. I documented my experiences in this article

After Johnny Clegg’s passing, I’ve been reflecting on his music and legacy and decided to write this article focusing on his influence as a social innovator and conduit for social change in SA. Hope you enjoy.

A few years ago I wrote an article detailing some of the most iconic recording studios in the world. I decided to revisit this topic in my new Medium article, which even features SA’s Bop studios. Hope you enjoy

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Sheldon Rocha Leal

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