There is a critical shortage of after school facilities in the townships of South Africa. Township children spend their time on the streets, ruled by the gangs and drug dealers, or at homes frequently dominated by alcoholism, domestic violence and other forms of abuse. There is very little opportunity for loving, nurturing, growing.
The Kronendal Music Academy of Hout Bay (“KMA”) was formed in 2007 with the aim of using music to bring hope and enrichment to the lives of children in the Hout Bay community and, in particular, the Imizamo Yethu squatter settlement and the Hangberg fishing village.
The mission statement of KMA defines its philosophy and objective. “We believe that we can contribute to improving the fabric of South African society by giving opportunities to others to develop dignity and respect for one another through music and all its components. We believe that music can heal.”
That healing, the constant belief in the power of music to enrich and empower, is the foundation upon which KMA is based. Its work takes the form of offering individual and group music lessons to the children of Hout Bay in a wide variety of instruments, and styles – classical, rock, jazz, traditional African. Besides vocal piano training, instruments taught include the the full range of brass, strings and woodwinds. “We teach just about anything except bagpipes”, says KMA director, Dwyn Griesel (and that only because there hasn’t been much demand for bagpipe lessons yet!)
Through the work of KMA many children are taking their first tentative steps as beginners and, as they grow in skill and confidence, they are given the opportunity of joining a band or ensemble. KMA currently has 14 ensembles in operation ranging from a wind band to a jazz band, a xylophone group to guitar, violin and cello groups. Tuition fees of most of the children are sponsored by corporate and individual donors. Instruments are also provided on a sponsored basis.
In May 2012 the project moved into the KMA House, a Heritage home built in 1847 on the original Kronendal Farm. Future plans for the premises include subdividing existing rooms to create nine practice rooms, establishing a coffee shop for parents of pupils and visitors, using the lounge for weekly Jazz Lounge evenings and setting up a musical instrument repair division in an adjoining cottage where members of the community will be taught to repair a variety of instruments, creating employment and income-earning opportunities.
A long-term goal is to build an eco-friendly Hout Bay Performance Centre, which will include sound proof teaching and practice rooms, a theatre seating 200 people with a stage, lighting, back-stage, change rooms and an orchestra pit, a large room for big band practices; a dance hall, a recording studio and a fully equipped instrument repair workshop. The Performance Centre will, in every respect, seek to bring cultural experiences to the wider Hout Bay community.
KMA has, in the five years of its existence, received a number of prestigious awards including the Louis Volks Humanitarian Award, the 2011 Mixed Choir Trophy at the Cape Town Eisteddfod, and the 2011 Inyathelo Award for Philanthropy in the Arts. There is little doubt that the project will continue to achieve, and excel.
For further details go to www.kmahoutbay.org, or contact them by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.