Ermelo Music Project
The next project in which we became involved, was in Ermelo, Mphumalanga. Although Ermelo does not have a focus school, the Shabach project there was launched by Mrs Cea du Plooy. She heard about our project, was very excited about it and contacted us. She is a maths teacher at a farm school, Umzimvelo Agricultural School, about 30 km outside Ermelo. The school has approximately 600 learners from Grade 1 to matric, and some of the learners walk for hours every day to get to school as they live on remote farms.

Since the Umzimvelo School is so far from the town, we decided to have our music centre at Shabach. It comprises six fully qualified music teachers who currently have other jobs but want to give music lessons to young and old in the afternoons or in their free time. They only had two keyboards and Proud Partners donated a further five keyboards and two guitars to them, which they now use to give affordable individual as well as group lessons to the disadvantaged community. They only work in the afternoons and use the Sunday-school rooms at the local church for their lessons.

We followed the same procedure as at Belhar and approached two other primary schools in the area, namely Ermelo English Primary School and Nooitgedacht Primary School, to become part of the music project. We have donated a keyboard to each of the two schools as well as to Umzimvelo, and also pay for weekly music lessons for two Grade 5 learners from each school (i.e. six in total) and two teachers from each school (also six in total). The same rules apply here − the teachers must each also give music lessons to two learners in order to create a ripple effect.

The best aspect of Proud Partners' music project is showing that ordinary people are making the effort to break down barriers between cultures and race groups − all in time to music!


Mrs Cea du Plooy with Isabel
The music teachers with Nianell and Isabel Verwey (Proud Partners)