Marimba donation brings smiles to schools

Principals were taught to play the marimbas which have been donated to their schools.

Six Nyanga primary schools which are part of the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture’s Artist in School (AiS) programme received donations of marimbas last week.

Before the marimba handover on Thursday, August 3, the department, in conjunction with the Nyanga Arts Development Centre (NADC), brought school principals and pupils under one roof for long hours of marimba training.

During the workshop, the principals and their pupils, through music teachers, were connected with skills to play the musical instruments, just in time before the disruptions caused by the taxi strike.

St Mary’s, John Pama, Mzamomhle, Oscar Mpetha, Nobantu and Walter Teka primary schools each got four sets of marimbas and all parties were happy because they said the marimba is widely used at their schools.

The department’s representative, Mpho Mabule said he was excited with the leg in Cape Town. He said through the AiSl programme they have been working with artists to improve music and dance education in the country. He said he was proud to offer opportunities to disadvantaged areas and schools. Mr Mabule said the Western Cape was the seventh province to get the donation from the department.

“It’s very exciting to support the expansion of this programme to schools. We are also giving back to schools by helping to create a trained workforce as a priority for art at schools. We have been to six provinces and now we are here. I am happy because we are giving to provinces that marimbas are hugely used. We have decided to contribute immensely to indigenous music,” he said.

He added that his department is willing to train school principals to be able to use the marimbas too. “We worked with six schools today and that is huge. Our schools are not all capacitated with the skills hence we worked with the Nyanga Arts Development to teach the teachers. And we know Nyanga is a popular place for marimbas,” he said.

Before the handover of the marimba sets, the principals’ marimba band entertained pupils and visitors to show their recently acquired skills.

Walter Teka Primary School principal Thobela Malotana said the gesture was a good empowerment tool for them and their schools. He commended the department and its partner the NADC for equipping their children with music skills. “Through these programmes our children gain experience as musicians. A programme like this also significantly contributes to the communities they live in. One must remember that music is a career on its own. It also helps us as teachers not only to focus on the curriculum but on this career as well,” he said.

He described his school’s relationship with the NADC as “very strong”. He said the centre teaches creative arts at his school.

“We have a very rich history with the NADC. We have a group of kids that they train and this is something that we want to push,” said Mr Malotana.

The NADC project manager Lwazi Maseti was proud to see principals and pupils empowered.

He said NADC is working with the schools in the area and had to choose six schools for the day.

He said he was grateful that the department has put trust in them to work with schools.

The marimbas were manufactured by one of the leading local manufacturers, Marimba and African Percussions.

Marimba teacher Simo Tuku hard at work.
School children behind the marimbas.