On October 9, 2013 “Township Orchestra” was launched as the first African Artists for Development program in South Africa. This project is of particular significance for AAD as the ties between our countries are strong – remember that AAD is a partner of La saison sud-africaine in France.
In line with our approach combining contemporary art and local development initiatives, we are now active in Cape Flats. In these townships violence and insecurity plague without respite, and the first victims of dropping out of school – then unemployment – are children and adolescents.
School seems a fundamental field of action to curb this phenomenon: to fight against school dropouts, youth must be reintroduced into a curriculum. In this context, learning an artistic activity is a strong and effective way to achieve this academic reintegration while creating value of individual and collective student work.
The program – hosted at Steenberg High School located in Cape Town – is realized in collaboration with the great jazz trumpeter Ian Smith, as well as the local association Musiquelaine LLC, founded by Lainey Trequesser. Over a total period of four years, the program consists of an introduction to jazz and traditional music for a group of 50 students, averaging 13 years old (equivalent to 6ème in France). Each student – for whom this program represents a strong, long-term commitment – will be assigned an instrument and will gradually become a proficient musician.
After two months of intensive lessons, the group demonstrated motivation, invaluable cohesion, and has already mastered four songs. In addition, they were offered the opportunity to continue learning during the holidays through four “Workshop” lessons. See you again in a few months at the end of the 2014 school year for Cape Town band’s first concert.