On Monday the 26th of November, Bobby, myself and a few of our Smile 90.4FM colleagues piled into the bright yellow Smile van and excitedly made our way to Bloekombos Secondary School in Kraaifontein. We took our time driving there from our studios in the CBD because we were transporting some precious cargo: a van full of brand new musical instruments!
I’d been looking forward to this day for months as it was the conclusion of our ‘Making Music for Madiba’ campaign, earlier this year when we called for 67 buskers to perform for 67 minutes in 67 different locations across the Mother City, on Mandela Day. The aim was to inspire people to keep Madiba’s phenomenal legacy of ‘service to others’ alive.
This year, the 67 talented buskers raised over R20 000 towards music development for children and we chose Bloekombos Secondary to be the recipients of the proceeds. The school was established in 2006 and serves the community of Bloekombos, with more than 40% of its learners coming from the France area in the new establishment of Wallacedene.
As we arrived, we were greeted warmly by the school’s Music Director, Siyabulela Sulelo. As he led us through the foyer I couldn’t help noticing a large display cabinet filled with trophies awarded to the school’s choir. I immediately got the impression that this was a school that took its music very seriously. This was later confirmed when Mr Subelo (an accomplished opera singer himself) told us about how passionate the school’s choir is and how they regularly travel around the country to take part in competitions.
Then came one of my favourite moments of the year – the instrument handover.
We presented the school with a variety of instruments, such as keyboards, guitars, violins, trumpets and accessories to equip the music department and assist learners in pursuing their musical passions.
Mr Sulelo was visibly thrilled and said that their goal is to take the music department to new heights and give the students the training they need. He said having these instruments would do just that.
We were then invited to the hall where the school choir was lined up on stage to entertain us with a few songs to show their gratitude. The minute they started singing “Hallelujah” I got chills down my spine and a lump in my throat. I was completely transfixed by these high school students swaying gently (almost doing a Madiba Jive) to the tune they belted out from the stage, singing in perfect harmony, which somehow made it all the more perfect. I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself when the Smile team was lead on stage to join in during the third song. It was a lovely gesture that I’ll never forget.
Clearly, the students at Bloekombos love their music and I for one am excited to see the school’s music department grow from strength to strength.
Smile 90.4FM Marketing Manager, Kerry McIntyre, commented that “creating an environment where the students of Bloekombos Secondary can discover their talent and realise their potential is what Smile 90.4FM is all about” and I couldn’t agree more.
At this school, not only are they inspiring young minds to experience the joy of music, they’re transforming lives!