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Music as a Global Resource: - International Council for Caring ...

Music as a Global Resource: - International Council for Caring ...


SECTION: Music for Sustainable Community Development COUNTRY: South Africa PROJECT: MANGAUNG STRING PROGRAM FOR DISADVANTAGED YOUTH DESCRIPTION: The Mangaung String Program (MSP) is a string music development program initiated by the Free State Musicon in July 1997 which targets children from disadvantaged backgrounds in the greater Bloemfontein area, predominately Mangaung. There are four orchestras, based on ability, which all use the name Bochabela. There are currently over 430 pupils in the MSP. In 2009, the MSP expanded the program to the rural southern Free State, two hours out of Bloemfontein. Once a week a senior instructor and three junior instructors travel to the towns of Phillipolis, Trompsberg and Springfontein in the Xhariep district. The program takes place at various primary and high schools during and after school hours. There are currently 100 pupils receiving tuition. Due to the popularity of the program, older learners are employed to help teach the younger pupils. This has proven to be immensely successful. The younger children have a difficult concept explained in their mother tongue; they have a role model they can relate to. MSP gets excellent young teachers who grew up in the programme and understand the group and the cultural dynamics. Young teachers receive a substantial confidence boost, as well as a stipend to help them make ends meet. Two young musicians are also learning basic instrument and bow repairs. The public face of the MSP is the Bochabela String Orchestra. This orchestra, made up of the best of the MSP, performs a wide variety of music from baroque to traditional and popular African music. The BSO performs for government, corporate and community functions. Many of these performances are a practical way to raise funds for pupils to attend music festivals, national orchestra courses, tours and orchestra camps. The orchestra appears widely throughout South Africa including all national television stations. It performs in numerous music festivals including the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival, the MIAGI Youth Orchestra course, and the South African National Youth Orchestra. The Bochabela String Orchestra has also appeared on Belgium and Austrian television. CURRENT STATUS: The MSP has recently completed its thirteenth year of existence. The programme is continuing to grow in the numbers of pupils (430), as well as the geographical reach expanding to Bloemfontein and the southern Free State. The Premier of the Free State, Ntate Ace Magashule, has requested that the progamme to reach out to underserviced areas in the northern Free State. This initiative is subject to the government providing adequate staffing to facilitate the Premier‘s wishes. While the provincial government of the Free State pays for two senior instructors, the University of the Free State also sponsors thirty-hours of specialized individual tuition. A link with the Free State Symphony Orchestra also makes it possible for the most advanced young pupils to also receive individual tuition. The Mangaung String Programme Trust and MIAGI provide modest stipends to our nine junior instructors. 6

The MSP has also received support over the past few years from the South African Music Rights Organization, MIAGI, the Community Services Department of the University of the Free State, the Belgian Youth Orchestra Violet, the Zaventum Schoolin in Belgium, the International School Brussels, Music in die Piano Forte in Austria, Fractured Atlas in the USA and the FirstRand Foundation which gave us a grant to buy our thirty seat bus. RESEARCH AND EVALUATION: A research study of the Mangaung String Programme, published in 2006 in the Journal of Musical Arts, focused on the details of its impact on the participants and their community. Drawing on qualitative methodology, surveys were conducted among the different community stakeholders involved in the programme. The interpretative tools applied to the data found that although both the learners and their community were at first unfamiliar with Western classical violin music, their 'horizon of expectations' gradually broadened, rendering them more open to cultural interchange. Also, the programme influenced those involved not only on a musical level, but also on various other socio-cultural levels. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Publications: Elene Cloete. (2006). Broadening a horizon of expectations: A qualitative investigation of The Mangaung String Programme. Journal of Musical Arts in Africa, 3, 1, pp. 16-38. Photos: Videos: For more videos, search ―Bochabela String Orchestra‖ on YouTube. CONTACT INFORMATION: Organization: Mangaung String Programme 16 Whites Road Waverley Bloemfontein 9301 Phone: (27) 083-703-1554, Fax: (27) 086-511-9781 Contact Person: Peter Guy Email: 7

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