Boost for Buskaid
THERE was a time when parents frowned on a classical music career, especially for black women.
That is why it's gratifying to see an organisation such as Lotto giving grants to the Buskaid Soweto String Project .
The nearly R7million from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund will go a long way to making youngsters' dreams a reality.
The R6,952million will be released in six parts over three years to allow Buskaid to continue its valuable developmental work among young township musicians.
Established in 1997 by British viola player Rosemary Nalden in Diepkloof, Soweto, Buskaid offers quality string tuition to less privileged youngsters.
The grant has already enabled Buskaid to increase its numbers.
Nalden says the grant will assist in specific areas of training and development, but emphasises that the project needs more funding for other aspects of its running costs.
Buskaid focuses on the Diepkloof area because Nalden firmly believes that "children should be within walking distance of their lessons".
But she would love to expand to other areas.
"Part of the funding will go to learnerships for youngsters in the project who leave school and want to take up music and teaching as a career," she explains.
"They receive financial support that enables them to attend the music school and practice to audition for jobs as musicians, while also playing with the Buskaid Ensemble and chamber groups."
Almost all students receiving the monthly stipend are also assistant teachers at Buskaid, practising in the mornings and teaching music in the afternoons.
For this they receive additional payment.
Cecilia Manyama and Keabetswe Goodman are now full-time teachers and performers at Buskaid, thanks to the grant.
Buskaid recently sent them to London for a course as string teachers. They were highly praised for their excellent skills and knowledge.
In addition to the funding or partial funding of learnerships, teacher training and public performances, the grant will help cover the services provided by Nalden and Sonja Bass, a cellist and Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra member.