Ntonga Music SchoolGugulethu, South Africa
In the spring of 2009, the Playing For Change Foundation opened its first music school in Gugulethu, South Africa, a township ten miles (16 km) outside of Cape Town. Like many of the townships formed during the government-imposed Apartheid that lasted from 1948 to 1994, Gugulethu is a community in need of assistance and inspiration. South Africans are still striving to repair the damage and injustice created during Apartheid, and the Ntonga Music School is setting a strong example of how the country can come together to create a brighter future for its people. Today the people of Gugulethu are full of life and spirit, but have many obstacles to overcome. With drugs, crime, poverty, and disease prevalent in the township, the Ntonga Music School offers hope and possibility for the community and its youth.
In addition to building the school, the Playing For Change Foundation provides teacher salaries, musical instruments, and other necessities this center of compassion and creativity requires. The school is lead by a dedicated staff of music instructors and trained personnel who understand the unique challenges their students face. The school also serves as a community center where guest musicians from Cape Town and beyond come to perform for the students and community.
The Ntonga School is striving to empower the people of Gugulethu by creating positive opportunities for their community, as well as foster a greater connection to the rest of the world through the sharing of their music. The school is working to connect South Africans beyond the boundaries of Gugulethu; it is a source of pride and inspiration not only for the township, but also for the country.
Opening day at Ntonga!
Trombone lessons anyone?
Love those horns-- and their players!
Co-Founders Mark and Whitney with a friend
PFC Band's Titi Tsira visiting Ntonga
Ntonga teachers + advisory board
No one is too young to join in the fun!
Congolese music workshop with PFC Band members Jason Tamba and Mermans Mosengo
OTHER WAYS TO GIVE
Allows local craftsmen to replace the head of a djembe (hand drum)
Provides one month’s teacher salary
MEET WITH A STUDENT
Mphumzi has been playing drums at the Ntonga music school since the age of ten. He was encouraged to attend the music school by his uncle, who is a professional Marimba player.
Music to My Earsby Chi Nguyen
On the morning of Wednesday, February 26th, 2014, I was able to visit Pokie and Derrick of Ntonga Music School. Although it was too early for the younger ones to arrive at Ntonga, I was able to witness Pokie giving a one-on-one bass lesson to an older student of his. When asked how he enjoyed Ntonga, a huge smile spread across the blossoming bass player’s face and he said, “I love it. I come here every day, every single day, before work. It is my passion.”
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.