I grew up in an Indian township called Phoenix in Durban, South Africa. Having had a few informal music lessons from my dad, I was a largely self-taught musician and playing the piano at church honed my skills.
My formal music lessons started when I was 17 years old with a passionate music educator - Dr Chloe Timothy. I will never forget that day. My first lesson was learning the major scales, which had puzzled up until that point. It was then that I quickly realised the value of formal music education and wished that I had this opportunity when I was much younger.
Due to the poor socio-economic conditions, low household income, and living in a township, it was impossible for me (and others like myself) to access formal music education.
For a working-class community that barely survived on a living wage, owning a music
instrument and taking proper music lessons was a luxury. Fortunately in 1995, I received a study bursary which allowed me to pursue a music degree.
With this experience etched in my memory, my dream was to make formal music training accessible to all children regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds. South Africa has a large population with this education challenge.
I believe my efforts will benefit some of the children facing this obstacle. Recently, I partnered with the Love Trust and YAMAHA to develop and facilitate a music programme at Nokuphila School in Thembisa, Johannesburg. The latter is my current project.
The Love Trust is a South African charitable not for profit organisation with a vision to nurture future generations of servant leaders. It was founded in 2009 with a conviction to bring hope through education by providing vulnerable children with quality Christian education and social care that includes academic excellence, spiritual strength and moral integrity.
It supports the South African government development commitments that by 2030 all girls and boys will have access to quality early childhood and primary education and to reduce poverty and social inequality through equitable, holistic education.
Nokuphila School (meaning ‘place of light’) opened its doors in 2010 to 45 pre-school children from Thembisa, a large township facing high unemployment, crime, child abuse and poverty. The level of education in Thembisa, particularly in pre-school education, is at this stage considerably ineffective and under-resourced. Children at Nokuphila School are admitted based on their vulnerability and willingness of their caregivers to participate actively in school life of their children.
They provide quality Christian education annually, on average to 367 children, from Grade 000 to Grade 7.
The Love Trust and Nokuphila school are determined to deliver measurable impact in the communities they serve. To aid The Love Trust in achieving their growth plan, all the proceeds from my CD sales will go towards developing a sustainable music programme at Nokuphila School. This involves the purchase of recorders, books, keyboards and computers for learners to have access to formal music lessons encompassing a holistic approach to music education.