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Imvula Music Program

Gugulethu, South Africa

The first Playing For Change Foundation music school, which was 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 Imvula Music Program has been established by Titi and her mother, Poppy Tsira, both long-time residents and community leaders in Gugulethu. The Imvula 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. 

The community of Gugulethu is still rebuilding after the devastating impact of Apartheid. With drugs, crime, poverty, and disease prevalent in the township, the Imvula Music Program will offer even greater hope and possibility for the community and its youth.

Other Ways To Give

Djembe (Hand Drum)

Locally made instrument benefiting a child and village craftsman.

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Teacher salary

Provides one month's teacher salary

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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 06, 2016

From Shipping Container to Music Studio

By Thea Karki

The Philippi Music Project team is building a music studio inside an abandoned shipping container located just minutes from our PFCF music program in Gugulethu. The Imvula students and teachers will not only have free access to the studio, but also an opportunity to learn recording, create studio-quality music and participate in workshops conducted by local musicians from across the region. more

Life in the Community

Most residents of Gugulethu 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.

What We're Learning

  • Saxophone

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

Poppy Tsira

Poppy is an actress and teacher from Gugulethu, South Africa, who administrates our... more

John Ntshibilikwana
Saxophone Teacher

John is from Gugulethu and has been a respected musician in the area over the past 40... more


Paul is our marimba teacher at the Imvula Music Program more

Dance teacher

Anele is a talented professional dancer who masters different types of dances and has been... more

Duke Norman
Music theory and saxophone teacher

Duke is a musician and a graphic artist from Guguletu who like our other teacher John... more