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Music-Instruments for Elsies River (2003-2011)

Elsies River is a suburb characterised by crime and unemployment. The forced resettlement of the people during Apartheid often led to a loss of identity and traditional values due to the tearing apart of established structures – resulting in crime and the formation of gangs. Elsies River High School recognised this and founded a choir and an orchestra with the aim of giving the children hope and self-confidence through music – to strengthen them against gang recruitment and the slide into crime.

In 2003, after a cultural evening for the Aachen delegation at the school, Gilbert Thomas, former headmaster, asked us for unused instruments from Germany for his learners because it is simply unaffordable for them to buy an instrument.

The first instruments donated in Aachen soon arrived in Cape Town. The children were happy about their first “own” instruments! We repeatedly took instruments with us on project visits and private trips, which benefited the music project. Twice, the Aachen Youth Symphony Orchestra donated half of the proceeds from a concert to buy and restore good violins. The children were able to borrow instruments from the school and received professional music lessons through the NGO Musedi.

After Mr Thomas’ contact with “his” old school was greatly reduced, the project came to an end in 2011.