Building the community through music on Mandela Day

Posted on July 28, 2016

On Monday, 18 July 2016, the Department of Music at the University of Pretoria (UP) celebrated the legacy of former President Nelson Mandela and observed International Mandela Day by donating a piano to Funanani Christian School in Mamelodi West.

Dr Glenn Holtzman, lecturer in Music Theory and Musicology in the Department, presented the piano on behalf of the University. Dr Holtzman also presented music and dance classes for the school's Grade R and Grade 1 learners on the day.

'This piano project proves that music has the power to contribute to the well-being of our society. For some of the children at the school, it was their first opportunity to touch a piano and many of them wanted to know how its mechanism works. The singing, dancing and games we played on Mandela Day were a euphoric experience for all. It made us forget about the sometimes harsh world we live in, but also reminded us of how the harmony of music is a metaphor for Nelson Mandela's wish that all South Africans should live in harmony,' says Dr Holtzman.

The piano donation is the embodiment of what Nelson Mandela meant when he said, 'There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children.' The principal of the school, Mrs Maureen King, said on behalf of the teachers and learners, 'I would like to extend our heartfelt thanks for the piano so generously donated. You have inspired some of our precious little souls to become musicians.'

In the tradition of giving 67 minutes to make the world a better place on Mandela Day, UP used its time wisely by remembering the words of Nelson Mandela: 'The time is always ripe to do right.'


- Author Mikateko Mbambo

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