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Litha Music Program

Gugulethu, South Africa

The first Playing For Change Foundation music school, which is located in the South African township of Gugulethu, is taking on new life. We are proud of the legacy of the Ntonga Music School and excited for its evolution to serve even more students. Thanks to the support of long-time Playing For Change Band members, Titi Tsira, Mermans Mosengo and Jason Tamba, who are based in South Africa, we are expanding our programmatic efforts in the community of Gugulethu and transitioning the music program to a new location.


The newly founded Litha Music Program has been established by Titi and her mother, Poppy Tsira, both long-time residents and community leaders in Gugulethu.   The Litha Music Program is located at the Litha Primary School, which serves over 500 children ages 6 to 14. The school is run by the community but supported by the government of South Africa, thus no school fees are required for students.  It serves children from all of the area townships.  The program brings music education into the lives of even more children and a more diverse group of children, and provides a larger, more efficient space for classes.


The program is being led by six talented teachers, including former Ntonga teachers, John Ntshibilikwana and Nelson Mongezi, in addition to PFC Band members Mermans, Titi and Jason. 

Students are learning guitar, vocals, drums, saxophone and keyboard/piano as well as dance and marimba. Along with after school music and dance instruction, the program is open to the community on the weekend offering workshops and performances to young and old alike. 

Gugulethu is still in need of inspiration.  With drugs, crime, poverty, and disease prevalent in the township, the Litha Music Program will offer even greater hope and possibility for the community and its youth.

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Djembe (Hand Drum)

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Meet our Students


Mphumzi has been playing drums at the Ntonga Music School since the age of ten. He was... more


Jun 11, 2014

Progress and Joy at the Ntonga Music School

By Thea Karki

Earlier this year, the program team at the Playing For Change Foundation worked on a strategy with the leadership team at the Ntonga Music School that could grow the school in a manageable way, increase community outreach and participation, and improve the overall structure of the music school. Since February we have seen encouraging progress; we now have a strong administrator in place, and three new committee member candidates from Gugulethu. There are 40 to 50 consistent students showing up for classes on a regular basis, and up to 100 students that are participating in the program altogether. more

Life in the Community

Most residents of Guguletu work as laborers either in the Township itself or in nearby Cape Town. The youth of Guguletu wake around 7 AM, eating cereal and bread to fill their stomach. Most of them have between 3 and 5 siblings and attend local school-- some walk, others take a mini-bus. School ends by 3PM, at which point many students go straight to Ntonga to pursue their passion: music.

What We're Learning

  • Music Education at the school

    The Music school is open from Monday to Saturday. Classes are given in bass, guitar, flute, drums, piano, vocals and musical theory. A very special attention is given to the study of the jazz standards during the ensemble classes, where our...

  • Piano

    The piano is a big part of our curriculum at the Ntonga Music school. We have two upright pianos and 2 keyboards at the school and those classes are being leaded three times per week by teacher Nelson Yeye Mongezi.

  • Saxophone

    Tenor and alto saxophone classes are being held twice a week at the school by teacher John Ntshibilikwana


Pokie Klass

Co founder & Bass teacher Ntonga Music School Co founder & Bass teacher.... more

Nelson Mongezi

Piano teacher Ntonga Music School Nelson Mongezi is a pianist, arranger and composer... more


Saxophone teacher Ntonga Music School John is from Gugulethu and has been a... more