– Kayamandi After-Care makes music

The Macias Restis After-School Care in Kayamandi near Stellenbosch has introduced a music programme which aims to establish a choir, djembe drumming group and guitar ensemble at the care facility.

Macias Restis has close to 150 children registered, of which more than 50% are orphans or from families affected by HIV/AIDS. The programme is based at the iKhaya Trust Centre, an initiative of the Greater Stellenbosch Development Trust.

Recognising an opportunity to promote the social development of children in her care, project manager Yandiswa Mafungwa recently appointed Thembelani Ngqulana as musical director.

Ngqulana, who holds a diploma in music, kicked off the programme in April, by inviting all children to participate in open auditions. The children were first asked to perform a song of their choice, followed by a drumming jam session and the introduction of some guitar chords.

“The kids took the auditions very seriously,” says Ngqulana. “With a room full of their peers and teachers, I thought they would be scared to embark on this new process, but every one showed enormous commitment and fully enjoyed it.”

“Music can play such an important role in the growth and development of young children,” says Ngqulana. “We acknowledge that young children can be influenced both positively and negatively by the music they are exposed to. We want to teach and expose our kids to music that relaxes the mind while at the same time teaching them to think. In our society, music can also hugely assist in building positive relationships. The kids can do so much more than just sing and play if they experience music in the right way.”

The school has 14 drums, 11 guitars, 5 violins, 1 trombone and 1 clarinet at their disposal. In addition, teaching of the recorder, by Colette Coetzee and assistants, has already commenced. In future Ngqulana will also introduce the children to reading music.

Volunteer music teachers and donors of instruments are encouraged to contact Macias Restis for a personal introduction or to visit and experience the musical programme. Contact Yandiswa in this regard, via emailmafungwa.y or on +27 (21) 889 8774.

The After-School Care Project is funded by the Restis Family Trust.

The Greater Stellenbosch Development Trust was established in 2002 by concerned individuals who wanted to help to bridge the economic and cultural divide between communities in Stellenbosch. With the help of donors an old beer hall that was previously destroyed in a fire in Kayamandi was bought, renovated and became the iKhaya Trust Centre.

For more information visit http://www.ikhayatrust.org.za

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