Sunday, September 30, 2012


Thursday September 20


Today we flew to Cape Town to begin our tour of Stephen Lewis Foundation projects there.

Alexanne Tingley and Juanita van Wyk arranged for us to be picked up on Thursday afternoon to take us to the Music Therapy Community Clinic (MTCC).  Although music therapy programs are well established in places like Canada, in South Africa there are very few of them available.  There are only 45 in the whole country and most are private organizations.  MTCC is the only community based, non-profit program in South Africa.
 Samantha presents recorders and other gifts for the Music Theraopy program

However, the Music Therapy program makes up only part of what MTCC does.  They run clinical music therapy sessions, after school programs, and conduct training and capacity building workshops.

The Vision of MTCC: for children and young people to generate hope and possibilities for their lives through shared engagements with music.

Mission of MTCC: to join with communities by offering therapeutic services, and creating and strengthening musical resources and support networks to benefit some of Cape Town’s most vulnerable and marginalized children and young people.

Here are some of the communities they have worked with in the past year:

·         Home from Home – a non-profit organization that provides a network of foster homes in Khayelitsha the third largest township in South Africa. The MTCC runs an after school music program that includes gumboot dancing and African musical groups.

·         Nomzamo Place of Safety in Langa is a sanctuary for babies and children under the age of six who have been removed from abusive home environments.  The MTCC offers individual and group music therapy sessions.

·         Etafani Centre in Nyanga is a multi-purpose community centre for children affected by HIV and AIDS and their caregivers.  The MTCC runs and after school music programs at the centre. OPSEU delegates visited the Etafani centre.

At MTCC there is a total of 9 staff which includes 4 music therapists, 1 community musician and one developer.  They provide services to specific sites and many of these sites are working with children with HIV/AIDS.  The beneficiaries of this program number 667 people.  This type of therapy assists in dealing with traumas, by allowing children to express one’s grief, loss, etc.  The shared experiences of trauma are particularly successful and 50 % of the music therapy sessions are group sessions.  The problems these youth are facing include abuse, fetal alcohol syndrome, abuse, HIV/AIDS etc.

The Music for Life program is a huge success. This is a program which has taken kids off the streets, away from drugs and bags. Alex quoted at the beginning, “Children seldom need a good talking to; they need a good listening to!”  MTCC creates a kind of Music for Life Island for 6 to 14 year olds.  The kids are formed into either drumming group or a marimba group (with huge wooden xylophone-like instruments.) The values the kids learn are things like sharing, love, caring, respect and fun.

MTCC holds an annual camp for kids which is very popular – and a Youth Forum where young people can have a say about their future, issues of gender, etc. 

After an hour with Juanita and Alexannne explaining the programs run by MTCC, they drove us to the Etafani Centre in Nyanga township to see one of their bands ready to perform for our visit.

Usually women don’t play the marimba.  It is a striking instrument, carved out of wood but something like a wooden xylophone.  We were treated to some amazing music from the marimba players and then tried playing and dancing ourselves (with the help of the young students who had great fun with us). Three of these young women marimba payers are heading to Toronto in early November to perform at the Stephen Lewis major fundraising Gala.  What wonderful music they played for us. It was very difficult to tear ourselves away!

We thanked Alexanne for the afternoon and headed back home, our heads filled with the beautiful sounds of the marimba.




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