A Pleasant Note


By WP Van Zyl

A short review of The HeadStart Trust activities in 2023 and what lies ahead in 2024

The Focus: rural underserved communities

This year once again marked a full calendar year of weekly music lessons at Protea Primary School in Napier, and De Bron Primary School in Stanford.

A reality of working in rural communities is the need to adapt and align with changes in such a community. Protea Primary School started 2023 amidst some uncertainty at managerial level when the principal was on leave due to health concerns. The deputy-principal, Mr Leonard took over the running of the school, and became our liaison person. Unfortunately, the principal, Mr Temmers, was then permanently boarded due to medical reasons, and Mr Leonard has since become the acting principal. A further challenge at the school, which is a national challenge across South Africa, is sufficient classroom space, and in this regard the music classroom has since been used as an academic classroom, and the music lessons has moved to the school hall.

Our resolute musicians have resourcefully dealt with all these challenges, and lessons continue to equip and upskill the enthusiastic students.

At De Bron Primary in Stanford the team of musicians advanced on a strategy of a focussed group of students who became the school band. These students displayed a consistent attendance record and internalised the music programme. The school’s principal, Mr Pedro, appointed a dedicated teacher, Naomi Geldenhuys, to liaise with the musicians, and to co-ordinate the students.

The music group performed in front of the school for a concert which created massive enthusiasm, and sincere appreciation for the music programme was expressed by the school leadership

The Assets: incredible music teachers

The HeadStart Trust musicians are dynamic teachers with remarkable resilience and a passionate drive to make a meaningful difference through music education.

Christien Conradie continues to complement her music teaching with a realistic understanding of sustainable living. She is experimenting with different varieties of plants that produces good crops in the Overberg region.

CJ Bergh is becoming well-known in the Overstrand region amongst the music community, and his music teaching is expanding into music therapy.

Adrian Fowler travels annually to Europe for performances, and he uses his international experiences to inspire rural learners at the southern tip of Africa.

During May a 5-minute video was produced which features the talented musicians and the progress with the music programme. The video can be viewed here.

Collaboration: connecting with regulatory authorities

The HeadStart Trust remains committed to collaboration with the Cape Agulhas Municipality, and other leading community organisations. In recognition of HeadStart’s involvement in the region, we were invited to the annual Mayoral Municipality Address in Bredasdorp, where the theme for the year ahead was Renewed hope through innovative community engagement.

Our footprint in the community allows us to respond with greater impact during crisis that effect entire communities, such as the floodings during winter and the threat of alluvial mining and its devastating effect on the local environment, agricultural and tourism industries.

The lifeblood: donations

The HeadStart Trust acknowledges and deeply appreciates all and every donation received during 2023. On behalf of the staff, musicians, and the rural students in the Cape Agulhas district, we thank you for your kind and generous support in partnering with The HeadStart Trust and allowing the use of music to keep uplifting underserved communities. The smiles on happy faces, the confidence that is developed in young people, and the celebration of an excited community of the creativity shown by the young learners is a testimony to every considered contribution – THANK YOU

 Looking forward to 2024

The musicians have considered their gained experience from teaching in rural educational environments, and consider the following strategic goals for 2024: