A need was identified within the Nelson Mandela Metro to train the youth or any other members of disadvantaged communities in reading music, playing musical instruments, choral music and other forms of art.
It was foreseen that this initiative would equip them with a skill that could be harnessed into a possible professional ability to earn an income. It would also assist in supporting the cultural heritage of all South Africans and keep the youth from engaging in destructive activities, such as alcohol, drugs and gangsterism.
Our vision was to establish a professional School of Arts consisting of qualified artists, providing a future career to each member in support of his/her family and making a valuable contribution to the community it serves.
The Mandela Metro School of Arts (MMSA) exists to provide an entertaining yet professional service to the community it serves. This school will provide a formally structured home for talented youth who desire to make music or any other form of art their career of preference as well as for those individuals who want to participate only for enjoyment.
This will be achieved through the availability of formal yet fun arts training programmes presented by MMSA.
The project has been running since 2013 at Astra Primary School in Port Elizabeth. There are approximately 100 learners involved on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, which is when the classes are offered.
Professor Arne Bjorhei, from the University of Tromso in Norway, visits the school twice a year to offer master classes to the facilitators. Students from the University of Tromso also come to assist with teaching the kids in the project and since 2015, the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University music students, under the leadership of their lecturer, Mr Gareth Williams, started assisting as well. We take pride in ourselves and are pleased to announce that nine of our members are playing in military bands across South Africa and more will follow soon.
Alton SEPTEMBER, Mandela Metro School of Arts.