Peacemore Magonya is “really excited” to be the first recipient of a scholarship launched by BIMM Institute Dublin and Bohemian Football Club for those currently or formerly housed in direct provision.
The 28-year-old, originally from South Africa, told The Irish Times that he arrived in Ireland at the end of 2019 and lived in direct provision for three years before “finally moving out this year”.
This week he will be starting a bachelor’s degree in modern music production at BIMM after receiving the scholarship from the college and the League of Ireland club.
The scholarship was made possible from the sales of a 2022 Bohemian’s shirt featuring the late reggae star Bob Marley, which was released in partnership with the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) and Amnesty International.
Daniel Lambert, chief operating officer at Bohemian FC, said the jersey, with images of Marley’s face, came about “in collaboration with Bob Marley’s family, to celebrate his last outdoor gig and only ever Irish gig” which took place at the club’s Dalymount Park stadium in 1980.
“We do a lot of work with people in direct provision and migrants and have done for a long time at Bohs. We get gifts for kids in direct provision every year at Christmas and we work with MASI,” he said.
“So when we came up with the idea for the shirts, we said we wanted 10 per cent of the proceeds to go towards supporting people in direct provision. We raised a lot of money from the shirts and we spoke to BIMM to fund a scholarship.”
Shortly after taking office in 2020, the Government made a landmark pledge to phase out the system of direct provision by 2024. However, this looks set to be shelved due to continuing accommodation pressures which have been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. There were almost 5,200 people with permission to stay in Ireland living in direct-provision centres at the end of the first quater, which just 525 people moved out of this accommodation in the first four months of the year.
Applications for the scholarship were open to all current or former residents of the direct provision system, including mature students, and it funds them to study Ireland’s first third-level degree course in contemporary music. It was open to those who wish to study drums, guitar, bass, vocals and songwriting.
After receiving the scholarship, Mr Magonya’s fees will be paid in full for the four-year degree course, worth up to €12,000.
“I’ve always been into music, since I was about 11. A friend of mine sent me the scholarship details, and I looked into it and for me it’s an incredible opportunity,” he said. “It would’ve been a real challenge for me to be able to do it without the scholarship. There are so many people into music who need an opportunity like this, I hope it continues”.
Now living in Drogheda, Co Louth, Mr Magonya hopes to “move closer to Dublin to save myself the commute to BIMM”.
“I know it will be hard because there’s a housing crisis but I hope I can find somewhere. I’m really excited to start on Monday,” he said.
BIMM Institute campus dean Alan Cullivan said the college was “delighted” to work with Bohemian FC to award the scholarship to Mr Magonya.
“BIMM and Bohemian FC share many interests including a love of music and a desire to shine a light on the circumstances that immigrants endure in direct provision centres, a system which we believe should come to an end,” he said.
“Also similar to Bohemian FC, BIMM is an inclusive campus and we strive to be as diverse and as welcoming as we possibly can. We cannot wait to work with Peacemore over the next four years.”