Africa

The Ensemble seeks to connect and inform all people who are committed to ensemble music education for youth empowerment and social change.

The UKUSA Arts Programme: Four Decades of Transformation in South Africa

06-02-2021

As in many countries the world over, the immediate future of music education in South Africa is uncertain. Funding priorities are moving away from the arts, a universal problem brought into sharp focus by the COVID-19 pandemic. South Africa exemplifies this dilemma. It is a nation of diverse people, cultural practices, and musical traditions, with a rich history of community music-making. But its economic disparities have made formal music education almost inaccessible beyond private education or community arts projects and programs; it needs new approaches to teaching, learning, and sharing that properly acknowledge and utilize this diversity. Fortunately, there are some precedents for such new approaches—prominent among them, the UKUSA Arts Programme, previously housed at the University of Natal (UN).

Bridging Divides at the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra Company

05-05-2021

If you stroll through the University of Johannesburg’s campus on a Tuesday night, you will hear strains of music floating over the evening air, from Mascagni to Dvorak and Faure to Mozart.

Those sounds are the work of the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra, the senior ensemble of the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra Company (JYOC) whose members range from primary school children to students in their 20s. The young musicians come from all over the city and province, from all races, classes, and income groups in a country with the greatest wealth gap in the world.

Leadership Opportunities for Young People in Africa

04-21-2021

AfterSchoolAfrica (aSA) has compiled a list of 25 global leadership opportunities for people ages 18–40 in Africa.

Instilling Cultural Pride and Self-Belief in Cape Town’s Youth

04-07-2021

Predominately Black townships surrounding Cape Town, South Africa are still recovering and rebuilding after the devastating effects of Apartheid. Segregated communities, limited economic opportunities, and poor educational resources compound each other and block youth from determining their own futures. It was in this context that Playing For Change Foundation (PFCF) established its first music program at a secondary school in the township of Gugulethu, which comprises a mainly Black population in the Western Cape district, in 2010. Six years later, we officially established the Imvula Music Program, operating free of charge at different elementary and secondary schools across the Gugulethu, Philippi, and Nyanga townships outside of Cape Town.

Arts Education and Human Capability

03-03-2021

Knowledge, as widely understood, is the engine of modern economic progress. In that sense, education, as part of knowledge, is a driver of economic development. That’s why the idea of “human capital” augmentation is preached so widely in development discourse.

“I Can and I Will”: Making Beautiful Music at Open Air School

03-03-2021

The Open Air School in Durban, South Africa is a long-standing institution offering education to learners who have physical impairments, from pre-primary through grade 12. Their motto, “I can and I will,” is how I have come to know each child I meet at the school. Nothing is beyond their reach or capability.

A Musical and Communal Journey in Lesotho and South Africa

01-06-2021

The story of music education as a catalyst for social change in South Africa and Lesotho is long and complicated. The history of human struggle and social unrest in southern Africa is well documented, but it gave birth to a new era of growth and potential for its people. One might say that in the wake of South Africa’s newfound freedom from Apartheid, democracy opened many doors to Black South Africans. Within that greater context, I share my own musical journey as a snapshot of three decades of music, equity, and opportunity in South Africa and Lesotho.

Rwanda Youth Music Brings Back the Rhythm in December Concert

12-16-2020

The Rwanda Youth Music program shared a performance video to celebrate the lifting of certain COVID restrictions and the renewal of in-person rehearsals and concerts. On Sunday, December 13, three “energy-boosting bands,” Unit, Legend, and Fire Voice, performed for this online concert. Check out the replay of this celebratory event on their Facebook page.

The Morris Isaacson Centre for Music: Grounding the Basics in Students’ Cultural Identities

12-02-2020

The Morris Isaacson Centre for Music in Soweto, South Africa provides music education to almost 300 students. Driving human development through music, we hold Early Childhood Development classes at local partner institutions, and also provide a comprehensive on-site program of music tuition through individual lessons, ensembles, music theory classes, and choirs to develop musicianship.

The International School of Music, Languages and Polytechnic Studies: A Longtime Dream Becomes Reality

11-12-2020

Music can unite the world, produce unity and harmony in the community, and offer social and financial assurance. Having grown up humbly myself, I began dreaming in 2011 of starting an academic institution and cultural center for the young generation in my home area of Masaka, Uganda. That dream became the International School of Music, Languages and Polytechnic Studies (IMLS), located in the city of Masaka, near Lake Victoria.

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