Friday, 23 December 2011

Season's Greetings

Warm wishes from all of us at the Keiskamma Trust during this Christmas season, and many thanks to you, our friends and supporters for your ongoing generosity and partnership during the past year.

We are pleased to announce that it is now easier to donate directly to the Trust than ever before!

Please visit our webpage at click on “donate/help out” at the top of the page, or follow this link.

Donations are made via GivenGain, a non-profit organization that we are registered with, that connects causes and donors worldwide.Through them it is possible to set up monthly giving and to direct your donation to any of our programmes -Health, Art, Music or Education- and all funds are donated directly into our account each month.

Thank you for helping us continue to promote healthy and hope-filled communities in the Eastern Cape.

With best wishes for 2012 from the Keiskamma Trust Management Team.

Photographs: wire and bead Christmas stars and candle holders by Thobisa Nkani (Keiskamma Art Project - Ref WIRE011 - R29 and WIRE012 R49) - available in our shop in Hamburg and by special order at

Discover our new catalogue on the right side bar of this blog.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Carol Hofmeyr Wins Prestigious Award from University of Johannesburg

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) recognises, on an annual basis, alumni who excel in their respective fields. This year was no exception.
The University honoured two successful alumni, with the UJ Alumni Dignitas Awards on Friday, 25 November 2011.

At the same event, the Council of the University honoured four recipients with the Ellen Kuzwayo Award, for their outstanding contribution to the higher education sector.

The Ellen Kuzwayo Council Award recognises outstanding contributions beyond the confines of teaching and research by individuals over an extended period of time, to promote the well-being of the higher education sector, as well as the well-being of society in respect of matters in which the University has a particular interest.

Ellen Kuzwayo Council Awards

From left to right : Prof Roy Marcus: Chairperson of Council, University of Johannesburg, Ms Sibongile (Bongi) Mkhabela (recipient) , Dr Duduzile Rosemary Mkhize (recipient), Mr Thomas Louw De Beer(recipient), Prof Ihron Rensburg: Vice-Chancellor and Principal, University of Johannesburg and Dr Carol Hofmeyr (recipient).

Dr Hofmeyr combines the skills of two very different genres in order to empower and enrich hundreds of people's lives in South Africa's Eastern Cape.

In 2000, she, as a medical doctor and a profoundly talented artist, initiated the Keiskamma Art Project with the aim of alleviating poverty and promoting self-esteem through art and creativity in this rural community.

While engaged in this project, she became intensely aware of the huge problem of HIV/AIDS in the area and of the many people dying without a diagnosis or any form of medical care.

Although she had been out of clinical practice for many years, she went back to work as a primary care medical officer in the Peddie South District clinics. Because people were either too ill or too poor to access the health system, she established a residential HIV programme in Hamburg on the Keiskamma estuary, by converting an old house into an AIDS treatment facility, which she named the Umtha Welanga (Rays of the Sun) Centre.

Dr Hofmeyr went on to train a team of over 30 village health workers to cover the entire area with support and advice on HIV/AIDS. She introduced antiretroviral therapy, initially using her own limited funds, and has established a model programme for the prevention, treatment, palliation and care of people with HIV/AIDS.

The Keiskamma Trust has been highly successful. The Trust believes that the battle against HIV/AIDS in rural South Africa cannot be won by medical intervention alone. The Keiskamma Trust exists to foster hope and health as well as pride and self-respect among the people living by the Keiskamma River, a desperately poor area of the Eastern Cape. By combining AIDS treatment, art projects such as the Keiskamma Altarpiece and the Keiskamma Tapestry and education initiatives, the Trust has been able to take the fight against Poverty and HIV/AIDS to the very heart of the community.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Keiskamma Christmas Concerts!

Along the Garden Route and Sunshine Coast

17-23 December

The concert programme will include Corelli's Christmas Concerto;
Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition (arr by Daniel Hutchinson);
Traditional Xhosa Wedding Song (Ubuhle Bendoda);
Abdullah Ibrahim's Bra Joe;
Christmas Medley, and Handel's Hallelujah Chorus.

Concert programme

Sat 17 Dec: Hamburg Old Hall at 17h30
More info: Brenda Fishwick
073 087 7307

Mon 19 Dec: Grahamstown Cathedral Lunch Hour Concert at 13h00
More info: Brenda Fishwick
073 087 7307

Mon 19 Dec: Port Alfred "Richmond House" at 18h30
More info: Sue Gordon
082 456 7437

Tues 20 Dec: Private performance at an exclusive Game Lodge

Wed 21 Dec and Thurs 22 Dec
Knysna Waterfront: The Boardwalk 11h00-13h00

Thurs 22 Dec: Private performance at Fancourt

Friday 23 Dec: Turbine Hotel oyster bar (opening December 2011!)
and Island Café, Thesin Island, 12:30pm - 2pm
044 302 5746

The Christmas tour is funded by the Rupert Foundation
with support funding from BASA,
Alusani Skills and Training Network
and the HCI Foundation.

All of these organisations have given the group tremendousencouragement and support.

"I feel like I am flying,"
said student Simnikiwe Nkani after her first experience at conducting.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Big day for the Art Project!

The 1st of December 2011 was a big day for the Art Project with...

... the unveiling of the Rhodes University Tapestry at the Council Chamber in Grahamstown - with a special performance of the Music Academy.

Click here to download the brochure.

Professor Brenda Schmahmann at the unveiling of Rhodes University Tapestry

... the opening of the A.R.T. show at the Tatham Art Gallery in Pietermaritzburg.

Click here to read more about A.R.T. show.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Keiskamma Guernica

Read more about the Keiskamma Guernica: click here.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

First impressions, by Brenda Fishwick - Visiting music educator from UK

As Helen bumped and scraped the little car up towards the High School (current home of the Music Academy) on October 1st, the broad sweep of the Keiskamma River and the rolling ocean came into view. We tumbled out of the car to be greeted with the big smiles of the Music Academy students. Lihle stepped forward and, very sweetly and formally, welcomed me to Hamburg. Standing there, on top of the hill, was a very special moment. I had been looking forward to coming here from the UK to work with the Music Academy for months, with a mixture of excitement and trepidation, and suddenly, under a huge blue sky and buffeted by Eastern Cape winds, I was here!

Another special moment came on the following morning as we arrived in the middle of the Sunday workshop session, as the students were practising movements from the Corelli Christmas Concerto. I had not heard them play live until then, and the beautiful sounds they were creating together, with such attention, care and professionalism, touched my heart.

Since that first weekend I've been swept into the business of life here, quickly trying to get up-to-speed with everything that lies ahead. Christmas Concert tour to be planned, instrumental lessons to be arranged, funding bids to be written and submitted and lots of people to meet and names to learn. Trying to squeeze and manoeuvre my tongue in order to create the subtle clicks that punctuate the Xhosa language raises many a giggle from the students!

Jen Hoyer and Lisa, our German volunteer, have been my saviours. As 'old hands', having been here for 2 months and 1 month respectively, they have been such a help to this English Offcomer. And of course, Helen, who invited me to come and be a part of her fantastic vision for these young people! (More on that Big Picture in future blogs!) Big thanks to you all, and to the other wonderful folk who have welcomed me so generously into this extraordinary place.

And just a footnote - last week we took one of the younger students to have an eye test at Specsavers in East London. We have just discovered that they provide a free service to under-12s, with free prescription glasses, so that's something we shall follow up with other students too and our only outlay is our travel to town. When we finally got back to the village in the evening we had to drop two students off at their homes which lie well off the beaten track. Fortunately, Unathi was also in the car to voice her enouragement as I precariously nudged our vehicle ( an unsuitable, low-slung, white little job) over giant potholes and across fields...('what track?!') Dogs barked at us as we stuttered and stalled in the darkness. And just for a moment, I wondered, was this what my daughter had had in mind when she urged me as I left; 'Now you be careful there Mum......'

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

My School - My Village - My Planet

Good news!

The Keiskamma Trust has just been provisionally accepted as a Woolworths/MyVillage partner.

For those of you in South Africa, this means each time you shop at Woolworths (and other shops) , you will have a chance to swipe your MyVillage card to support the programmes of the Keiskamma Trust.

More info on how this works below.

(If you do not live in South Africa, please send this on to contacts you have in SA who would be willing to support us in this way).

Before we can issue MyVillage cards to our supporters we need to manually sign up 1000 supporters.

This is where we need YOUR help.

Please download the application form here:

or find the link on our website:

Make the beneficiary Keiskamma Trust, address :
PO BOX 483, Peddie, Eastern Cape, 5640

At this preliminary stage we are not registered on the MyVillage site so our supporters cannot apply on-line.

Until we have 1000 supporters we have to use snail mail!

Please do not fax your form to the number listed on the form.We have to gather all 1000 hard copies and deliver them to the MyVillage at one time, with the signed contract.

Please mail your form marked : KEISKAMMA / My Village c/o PO BOX 91095 Auckland Park, Johannesburg, 2006

If you have friends and family who would like to support us in this way please forward this mail to them! We will let you know as soon as we have reached our target of 1000 !

Thank you for your support from all of us at the Keiskamma Trust

(questions? let me know at

More info from MySchool website:

What is MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet?

The MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet fundraising programme is South Africa’s number one community support programme that raises essential funds for schools, charities and environmental organisations. Funds are used to improve education and social development in South Africa. You can make a difference to a worthy cause without costing you a cent!The MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet programme raises more than R2.2 million per month for the schools, charities and environmental organisations it supports. Help us to help the community.

How does MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet work?

More than 600 000 community minded South Africans carry MySchool cards. Supporters apply for a MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet card for free and nominate their favourite school or charity as the beneficiary. When they purchase items from participating retailers they swipe the card with the purchase. A small percentage of their transaction is then allocated to their beneficiary school or charity. All these transactions are recorded and a statement is sent to individual supporters on a monthly basis. The partner stores pay the donation on your behalf!The supporter card is not a credit or debit card but simply tracks your transactions and your funds raised.MyVillage beneficiaries: charities that provide upliftment to communities and individuals in various ways other than the education school environment, such as SOS Children’s Villages, CHOC, Noah and National Hospice. These villages actively seek to improve the lives of our fellow men, women and children.

Where can I swipe my MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet card?

The success of the programme depends on the number of times you swipe your card! Supporters can use their cards at a range of national, regional and local retail partners on the MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet system. Some of the national partners include Woolworths, Engen QuickShops, Waltons, SupaQuick,, Jack’s Paint, Toys R Us, Reggie’s, Altech Netstar, Club Travel, MySchool Travel, Toner Town and many more.

Benefits of being a cardholder

You can raise funds for your favourite school or charity without costing you a centIt is so convenient using one card at many different stores. There are over 11 national partners and over 2000 partner stores where you can use your card across the country.Cardholders get exclusive discounts and special offers. For example, you are automatically part of WRewards from Woolworths (which includes 10% or more off on over 200 items in their stores and other tiered benefits), you get R40 off every GetAhead or MathPro educational software item that you buy, and you get exclusive discounts on vehicle recovery from Altech Netstar.You will receive a monthly email statement showing exactly how much your beneficiary has raised.

Support options

Once you have received your supporter card, you can manage and change your support as follows:

- Support your chosen beneficiary school or charity

- Change your support to another beneficiary or

- Split your support between two or three beneficiaries.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Music Academy Exams

Jen Hoyer, a Canadian recorder performer and teacher plus librarian, is visiting Hamburg and teaching our Keiskamma students beautifully.

“The Music Academy was busy for most of the month of August with preparations for UNISA exams. Having arrived in Hamburg to work with the students only two weeks before the exams, it was a bit of a test for myself as well!

23 of our students played 28 exams, with five students doing two exams on different instruments. We were very pleased with the general feedback from our examiner. He was impressed to see an outreach music program putting forward such well-prepared students and explained that this was contrary to his previous experience with similar programs. He went over the exam results from other exam centres he supervised in the region during the same session and confirmed that our students' average was 3.8% higher than the average in any other centre.

The final results for our students showed 19 distinctions (over 80%), 8 merits (over 70%), and 1 pass. In the distinction category, three of our students actually achieved over 90%. These were such exciting results, and they are good validation for the students that their hard work is worth it.

Coming from Canada, I have many memories of playing music exams as a student. These experiences generally involved poorly heated church halls and scratchy wool skirts, missing a half-day of school and stopping for a Slurpee on the car ride home.

Exams work a little differently in Hamburg. There are no parents around to drop off or pick up their children. The students walk from many kilometres away and we give them some bread and peanut butter if they haven't had a good meal before coming.

I accompanied many of the exams on piano. Shortly after lunch on the first day, I waited with the next student for her turn. We stood on a back stoop outside the living room (our exam room) door, gazing at the breakers on the beach and smelling the geraniums in the garden. I was still catching my breath from marching several students back to their practice room with curt orders: "We do not run in the yard and we do not steal guavas from other peoples' trees while waiting for our exams."

I often admit that I am learning just as much as my students, and experiences like this highlight the learning curve!"

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The Trust wins BASA Chairman's Premier Award

We are pleased to announce that the Keiskamma Trust, together with its funders and supporters, is the proud recipient of the Prestigious BASA Chairman’s Premier Award.

All of us at the Keiskamma Trust would like to acknowledge with gratitude our sponsors both large and small. To our friends, teachers and mentors everywhere we thank you for your friendship and encouragement over a period of eleven years!

The winners of South Africa’s most prestigious business/arts awards were announced at an event held at the Turbine Hall in Johannesburg on Monday 29 August during the 14th Annual Business Day BASA Awards.

An independent panel of judges made awards in 12 categories while three special honours – the Art Champion Award, the Chairman’s Premier Award and Diplomacy in the Arts – were also given out on the night.

The Chairman’s Premier Award recognises sustained and extraordinary commitment to the arts in South Africa.

About BASA:
Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) is an internationally recognised South African development agency which incorporates the arts into, and contributes to, corporates' commercial success. With a suite of integrated programmes, Business and Arts South Africa encourages mutually beneficial partnerships between business and the arts.

Accompanying Cebo Mvubu and Lithle Mtshonisi who accepted the award on behalf of the Keiskamma Trust (centre) are (from left to right): BASA Chairman, Sikkie Kajee, Minister of Arts and Culture Paul Mashatile, Pranill Ramchander of Anglo American, and Peter Bruce Editor of Business Day

The Business Day BASA Awards, supported by Anglo American, listed us as follows:

Chairman’s Premier Award: The Keiskamma Trust is a community organisation in the Eastern Cape area of Hamburg which addresses the challenges of widespread poverty through holistic and creative programmes and partnerships. The Trust’s art project provides skills, materials and training to create beautiful artworks. The most famous artworks to date are the Keiskamma Altarpiece and the Keiskamma Tapestry. Both large artworks carry the message of hope in the fight against HIV/Aids to audiences around the world.

The judges for the 2011 BASA Awards are CEO of The Loerie Awards Andrew Human (chairman); media consultant and editor of Destiny Man Kojo Baffoe; Sunday Independent arts critic Mary Corrigall; independent arts consultant Nicky du Plessis; strategist and CEO of Grey Advertising Siza Marutlulle; CEO of the Mastrantonio Group Gianni Mariano; co-founder and co-owner of multi-disciplinary design firm INK Lisebo Mokhesi and Associate Professor at the University of Cape Town and Artistic Director of Siwela Sonke Jay Pather.

Click here for more info.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Bike for a Bakkie, Pedal for a Pick up 2011


From the 21st of April to the 2nd of May, four bicycle riders from Kidzpositive covered a distance of 1000km from Hamburg in the Eastern Cape to Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town.

21/04/11 at 7:55am... 5 mns away from departure!

21/04/11 - Hamburg school kids wish the riders good luck!

21/04/11 at 8am sharp: GO!

Debbie Nash, Dr. Paul Roux, Prof. Hoffie Conradie and Prof. Steve Reid rode through Cambria, Studits, Willowmore, Rondawel, Prince Albert, Gamkaskloof, Vleiland, Anysberg, Tulbagh and the old Witzenberg Pass. They even had to carry their bikes up 600 metres of cliffside to get out of the Western end of Gamkaskloof!

They raised funds via sponsorships from individuals and corporations, for a vehicle for the community health work programme of the Keiskamma Trust.

26/04/11 - The team taking a break at Sleutelfontein

One of the many difficulties on the way: the Swartberg pass!


The generous contribution of their time and energy will help us continue to reach out to over forty remote and rural villages in the Eastern Cape where we are engaged in a constant stuggle to fight poverty and disease.

As a thank you token, the Keiskamma Trust gave 370 dolls to Kidzpositive as gifts to the children they work with in Cape Town. These dolls are made by the Keiskamma Art Project with sponsorship from Good Gifts, a UK charity:

21/04/11 - The Kidzpositive Team and Keiskamma Trust Transport Manager, Major Mangwane, with Good Gifts dolls

We would also like to thank the more than 50 individuals in South Africa and overseas who supported the ‘bike for a bakkie’ and the following organisations for their generous donations:

The Ackerman Family Foundation


Friends of Keiskamma Norway

The Rotary Club of Clairmont

Sportsman's Warehouse

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Keiskamma Music Academy Newsletter - July 2011

Dear friends of the Keiskamma Music Academy

Thank you so very much to our friends who raised a total of R60 000 and made the tour to Cape Town and Stellenbosch possible.

Our tour was a lovely success. The children were specially congratulated on their “open and focused demeanour and on their professionalism on stage”. We performed a total of six times.

Setting up for every concert is an undertaking. Siphelo is responsible for this marimba and Sibongiseni is helping him here while Yolisa watches on.

Apart from our concerts, we did two school concerts and workshops introducing our work “Aquarium” to St Cyprian's in Cape Town and Weber Gedenk Laerskool outside Stellenbosch.

Lihle Mtshonisi, our 15 year old senior leader, wrote:

“As a leader of a rural Music Group, it was such a thing to be able to lead a workshop at a school with children that are more used to the city life. The part I enjoyed the most was when the kids and us stood in a circle and shared what music meant to each one of us. And how music has changed our lives. I enjoyed seeing them so excited about performing and learning the 'Aquarium'. It was very nice that they learnt the piece so quickly.”

Our last concert of the tour gave our twelve most advanced students the opportunity to play a movement from a concerto with Camerata Tinta Barocca. We thank them for their generosity of spirit, their encouragement, patience and the ample rehearsal time we had with them. We presented four complete baroque concerti - a few of the students had to learn new movements with only two months’ notice, Lihle being one of them. Goodness, we worked hard on the concerti upon arrival in Cape Town!

Keiskamma Music Academy here together with Camerata Tinta Barocca following our final concert where the 12 most senior students played as soloists with them.

Lihle again: “First orchestral rehearsal, I felt like running away, I was scared, I thought everything would be a mess, but because I had faith in myself, everything went perfectly. Tinta Barocca was very kind to us.

The night of the big concert with Tinta Barocca, I felt very proud of myself and everyone from Music Academy that played a concerto, how confident we were in front of the audience, our faces and bodies showing the excitement and joy inside our hearts. So the audience enjoyed the music we were playing even more.”

Thanks to HWB Communications we appeared live on the Expresso breakfast show on SABC3. We had to be at the studios at 4h30 in the morning to set up and do a balance. The children were awake, responsive, professional…. Adrenalin pumping…

Both our calabashes were broken when a stand accidently fell over during a rehearsal in Cape Town. But our lemon soon became lemonade when we met Dizu Plaatjes, renowned traditional instrumentalist, who repaired our bows for us, and from whom we were able to purchase another calabash.

Lihle: “Our appearance on Expresso, sharing our music with the entire South Africa,was amazing. And everyone from the Music Academy was very grateful to everyone who made that possible. It was one of the most exciting things of the tour as well.”

We performed at the unveiling of the online auction of the Keiskamma Altar Piece at Oude Libertas. Lihle introduced the programme in such a confident manner. The Ensemble played Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, arranged by Daniel Hutchinson and the Music Academy.

Lihle: “One of the most enjoyable things we did during the tour was going to Robben Island and to the Aquarium.”

Visit to Robben Island

Visit to the Aquarium

On our return to Hamburg, we had a week-long exam preparation workshop with Olivera Nikolic, Elizabeth Winkelman and Kgotatso Kekana. This year we have 47 UNISA exam entries which will be taken during August and October. Several students have jumped grades this year thanks to input from Olivera and our team of instrumental teachers in Grahamstown. They are: Stephen Holder (flute and recorder), Priscilla Glover (recorder), Caitlin Schulze (recorder), Jared Lang (recorder), Jenny Brand (clarinet), Hilary Paterson (oboe), and Daniel Hutchinson (piano accompaniment).

We have an exciting time ahead:
Jen Hoyer, a Canadian recorder expert, is arriving in Hamburg on the 7th of August to visit and teach the students.
Brenda Fishwick, from the UK, is coming to visit us in October.
We will be having our annual Christmas concerts in Hamburg and surrounds around the 18th of December. More details later in the year.

Viva la musica

Helen Vosloo

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Grahamstown National Arts Festival 2011

FELT: Fabrics and Feelings

An exhibition by Magda Greyling and the Keiskamma Felt Making Group.

Click here to view the documentary.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Music Tour and Entyatyambeni

Dear friends,

Thank you all so much for helping
to make our concert tour
to Cape Town and Stellenbosch
a reality.

Through your generosity,
we have to date raised R49000
in cash and pledges.

We have covered our transport costs,
and most of the accommodation
and meal expenses.

Our tour will tell our story of HOPE.
Thank you for supporting our belief
in the power of the arts to change lives.

Also, thanks to the generosity of HWB Communications,
we have a new Facebook page amongst others.

Our performances in Cape Town and Stellenbosch
are listed below.

It would be wonderful if you were free to come and listen
For more information call Helen Vosloo 082 664 1190

Saturday 18 June 11h00 - 13h00
Slow Market at Oude Libertas
Cnr Adam Tas and Oude Libertas Street,Stellenbosch.

Tuesday 21 June
St Cyprian's Primary School, Cape Town:
Workshop and concert for their students.

Wednesday 22 June around 8h00
Live appearance on "Expresso" on SABC 2

Wednesday 22 June 18h00
Oude Libertas Art Gallery, Stellenbosch
c/o Adam Tas and Oude Libertas Street,Stellenbosch.
Tel: (021) 809-7463
"Entyatyambeni/In flower" exhibition of botanical paintings
and artworks of the Keiskamma Art Project.

Keiskamma Ensemble performs works by Saint-Saens (the Aquarium from his Carnival of the Animals), a few Renaissance Dances, Madosini and Mussorgsky, amongst others.

This exhibition launches the on-line auction of the internationally renowned Keiskamma Altarpiece
Stephan Welz auctioneers:

Thursday 23 June
Weber Gedenk Laerskool outside Stellenbosch:
Workshop and Performance for their students

Thursday 23 June 13h10
Lunch Hour Concert
Fismer Hall, Stellenbosch Konserwatorium
Works by Saint-Saens (the Aquarium from his Carnival of the Animals), a few Renaissance Dances, Madosini and Mussorgsky.
Contact: Louise Howlett - 084 682 1337

Friday 24 June, 20h00
St Andrews Church, cnr Somerset and Buitengracht, Cape Town
Keiskamma Ensemble soloists perform Baroque recorder concerti with Camerata, Tinta Barocca, Concerti by Sammartini, Baston, Babell and Linicke.
Contact: Quentin Crida - 0836847318

The "Etyatyambeni/In flower" exhibition is sponsored by

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Music Academy - Easter Workshop and Concert in Hamburg


We had a long and productive Easter workshop at the end of April, which culminated in our concert in the Hamburg Old Hall. We incorporated our eight new beginners into the programme. These brand new students are all having lessons with trainee teachers and they are doing so well.

Hanneke van der Merwe from Ubungani Wilderness experience did personal development and leadershsip skills with the group. She specially focused on the group of senior students. I am grateful for her presence. The students love her and her many interesting games! We need ongoing input for the students learning to take responsibility for their lives, their futures, their exams, their competitions, their concerts, their... I believe Hanneke makes a lasting impact...


The students did their first performance of Daniel Hutchinson’s new arrangement of Musorrgsky’s Pictures at and Exhibition. The work, our most ambitious to date has huge potential. Daniel writes so very well for exactly where the kids’ ablity is at that current moment. We are looking forward to perform the Mussorgsky in cape Town and Stellenbosch.

We had 32 students perform in total, including eight brand new beginners.

Momentous for me was the first ever concert where three students played a movement from a concerto! The three winners of the concerto competition (with Elizabeth Winkelman as the judge) performed at the concert. We are thankful for Peter Breetzke who specially travelled through to from Grahamstown to accompany them on keyboard. Much progress!

The Hall was decorated beautifully by Jackie,Veronica, Mbomba and Fumba and Cathy Stanley made the most beautiful exhibition of ceramics and embroideries.

The programme:

Saint-Saens (1835 – 1921) Aquarium free arrangement by Keiskamma Music Academy. “Group 3”

Ah, Robyn, Gentil Robyn Khanyi, Siphelo, Mkhululi

Sweetly Sings the Donkey Pink and White Groups

Quick March Lwandile, Nomambinga, Lwazi

Pavane “Group 1”

J.S. Bach (1685 - 1750): Air on a G String

Madosini Whistling Song

Sammartini (1701 – 1775): Concerto in F Major: Allegro Nqophisa

John Baston (1708 – 1739): Concerto in C major, Largo Lihle

JG Linicke (c.1680 – 1750): Concerto “Loure” Yolisa

Ubi Caritas (Latin Hymn) “Group 2”

Orchestral instruments:

Schubert (1797 – 1828): Marche Militaire Lihle

Peter Wastall (1932 – 2003): Let’s beguine Simni

Beethoven (1770 – 1826): Ode to Joy Zimkitha and Nqophisa

Modest Mussorkgsky (1839 – 1881): Pictures at an Exhibition – free arrangement by Daniel Hutchinson and Keiskamma Music Academy

The students who performed were:

Khanyi Cuka

Mihle Cuka

Yolisa Gusha

Nonzaliseko Gxamsa

Sibongiseni Gxamsa

Nokuthula Makubalo

Olwethu Solwandle

Nomambinga Mangwane

Thulethu Mangwane

Lwandile Mapuma

Wonke Mapuma

Simamkele Maxontana

Siphelele Maxontana

Lwazi Mbete

Aviwe Nkani

Lihle Mtshonisi

Nqophisa Mtshonisi

Sandisiwe Mtshonisi

Siphelo Mvapantzi

Simnikiwe Nkani

Siyamthanda Jakavula

Yonela Nompunga

Zimkitha Nompunga

Qhama Noncqe

Nolusindiso Nxasi

Zizipho Makubalo

Sambesiwe Mavela

Thabo Nqoxo

Mkhululi Peter

Tholakele Mapikele

Thabiso Nqoxo

Emihle Mapuma

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Partnership with the Sustainable Seas Trust by Mike Vilimek and Julie Cook

When I first embarked on my internship as a Marine Biologist in South Africa with the NGO the Sustainable Seas Trust, I was hoping to find a magical piece of paradise by the coast where I could work and be surrounded by amazing people. I finally found my paradise when I landed in Hamburg, and encountered those amazing people as I met the community members and those wonderful folks working with the Keiskamma Trust. Though working for an environmental conservation organization and not directly with the Trust, another Canadian colleague (Julie Cook) and I were immediately accepted with open arms by the Trust, which is truly integrated and involved in every part of the community, from health to education and art, and even to my NGO’s domain, the natural environment and its conservation. My role whilst in Hamburg was to try and assess the utilization and dependence upon the shellfish resources by the community. During my stay, the Trust provided me with invaluable assistance and shared freely in their experiences and knowledge of the people and the region, accumulated over 10 years of working alongside community members and striving to uplift those in dire circumstances. We were also given the opportunity to share our knowledge and experiences, and one of my most cherished moments during my six months in South Africa was interacting with the children while we gave a presentation at the after-care program at the primary school in Hamburg, and seeing the pride in their eyes as they told me “Hamburg is beautiful!” and took pledges to keep it so in the future.

I was often amazed over the 2 months that I lived in Hamburg at how much was taking place within this little, hard-to-reach community, from current and future development of the town centre, to the wide-ranging and exciting initiatives that are currently run by the Trust. These things could only happen thanks to the passion and dedication of the members of the Keiskamma Trust. Another of my fondest memories of South Africa was participating in the Capoeira classes. I can remember being very intimidated at first by the intensity and high skill level of the capoeiristas, as they were clearly passionate about what they do, and felt even more intimidation after I learned that most of them have been doing it for nearly 10 years! But I could not have been more wrong, their kindness shining through once you looked beyond those tough-looking exteriors, and I could not have asked for better friends during my stay in Hamburg.

Given the positive nature of many in Hamburg and the beautiful surroundings, it is often easy to forget that many people in the town and the surrounding areas live with high unemployment, little income and face a whole host of other challenges on a daily basis. The Trust and its members work extremely hard to help to sustain the community, but they face a lot of challenges as well. Working for a NGO for six months, I learned that one can never have too many resources at your disposal, and often it’s a lack of resources that’s the rule rather than the exception, and many good projects suffer for that lack. I would encourage anyone reading this to lend a helping hand in any way they can, whether it is through donating time or resources to the Keiskamma Trust, or helping to spread news of the good work they do. The people there are truly exceptional and I witnessed first-hand the positive impacts of their programmes within the community. I plan to return to Hamburg when I am finished with my studies and I assure you that you would have the experience of a lifetime spending several months there!


Michael Vilimek

(Intern for the Sustainable Seas Trust and Master of Science, Candidate at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada)

During her stay, Julie Cook (Community Education Officer) did the following Blog:

Mundo of Julie

Sustainable Seas Trust's website:

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Music Academy Concert tour to Cape Town and Stellenbosch 16-25th June 2011

Dear friends of the Keiskamma Music Academy,

A wonderful opportunity has arisen for students of the Keiskamma Music Academy to perform four concerts in Cape Town and Stellenbosch at the end of June. Amongst these concerts is an opportunity for our twelve most advanced students to perform as soloists with Camerata Tinta Barocca – a hugely exciting opportunity and a great chance for our gifted musicians to show their skills.

Our students have lived all their lives in the rural Eastern Cape. The opportunity to venture further afield, perform for new audiences in the Cape, and to perform as soloists with a chamber orchestra, is another step in their development, which continues to change their lives. Excitement is running high.

As is so often the case, however, there is an obstacle – funding. In order to take up this proposal, I need to raise R60 000 to pay for extra music lessons, transport, accommodation and food.

My request to you, as friends of The Keiskamma Music Academy, is that you have some fun with your friends and family during May and June and help us raise funds for our musicians at the same time. We ask you to invite (10?) friends and family for tea, a drinks party or a meal at your home sometime during the month of May. Ask them (beforehand, preferably J) if they would be willing to pay (R100/R200/R300?) for the occasion... (R100 = about € 10 = about £9 = about $7).We will have a short info document available on our website which you can send out beforehand or present on the day.

Please let me know if you feel inspired to participate, creating a community of supporters who believe in the power of the arts to change lives.

Yours in music,

Helen Vosloo


The vision for the Keiskamma Music Academy is to uplift the quality of life of vulnerable, rural children of Hamburg and surrounds, by creating opportunities through a music education. Established over dears ago, we currently teach 35 children aged between 9 and 16. Of these, we plan to take 16 students on tour to Cape Town and Stellenbosch.

We follow the classical training approach: all students start with recorder lessons (soprano, alto, tenor, bass and great bass recorders), theory, marimba and ensemble lessons and then move onto orchestral instruments. Students are selected purely on their expressing interest. The Music Academy is a programme of the Keiskamma Trust and our foundation is inspired by the internationally known tapestries of the Art Project.

The unique sound voice of the Music Academy is thanks to the work of our composer Daniel Hutchinson in conjunction with the students of the Music Academy. We are excited by this aspect of our training fitting in with the vision of the Keiskamma Art Project. We incorporate far lying music disciplines within another, building a rich local culture of music. We work around the classical, jazz and traditional Xhosa genres.

The opportunity to learn to play a music instrument has huge long term benefits: together with the new skills students acquire, leading to job opportunities, there is the empowering sense of fulfillment and achievement that comes with the creation of something beautiful, specially showcasing their beautiful indigenous Xhosa music traditions too.


Please reference “MUSIC TOUR 2011” on all payments
We have tax benefit status in South Africa, Canada and in the UK.
The information is on
Please feel free to contact for more information too.

Donations in South Africa:

Name of account holder: Keiskamma Trust
Bank: FNB
Account number: 62059966097
Account type: Cheque
Branch: Beacon Bay, East London
Branch Code 25010900

Donations in Canada:
If you are in CANADA, please contact Keiskamma Canada: Payment through PayPal on

Donations in the UK:
UK donors can give tax retrievable through “Gift aid” on the Keiskamma Friends website there is a donation button. You can contact Jan Chalmers: for assistance too.
A copy of our book can be ordered from

Our concert programmes will include:

Aquarium from Saint Saens: Carnival of the Animals: free arrangement by Keiskamma Music Academy.
Three Renaissance Dances by Susato, Hassler and Mainerio
Bra Joe from Kilimanjaro by Abdullah Ibrahim Arr. Daniel Hutchinson
Whistling Song by Eastern Cape artist: Madosini:
Ubuhle Bendoda Xhosa trad Arr. Daniel Hutchinson
Ubi Caritas (Latin Hymn)
Pictures at an Exhibition – Modest Mussorgsky free arrangement by Daniel Hutchinson and Keiskamma Music Academy
Concerti by Baston, Sammartini, Babbell and Linicke

Our concerts:
1. Saturday 18 June 10h00: Performing at the opening of the exhibition titled “in flight” at the Gallery at Beaux Conference Centre at Constantia Neck, This performance is in conjunction with the Keiskamma Art Project.
2. Wednesday 22 June @ 18h00 opening of Entyatyambeni (“in flower”) exhibition at Oude Libertas. In conjunction with the Keiskamma Art project
3. Thursday 23 June: Lunch hour concert at Stellenbosch University: Fismer Hall.
4. Friday 25 June 20h00 St Andrews Church in Cape Town: 8 -12 students performing as soloists with Tinta Barocca Chamber Orchestra.
5. In the pipeline is at least one school performance in the Cape.

We specially look forward to the performances in conjunction with the Keiskamma Art Project, because of our collaborations with our book, Aquarium in which we celebrate the natural beauty of Hamburg and surrounds through music, using extended techniques in creating bird calls amongst others. Our latest collaborative work is based on Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition in which the children have much fun.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Biking for a Bakkie

In April last year, 4 bicycle riders from Kidzpositive covered a distance of 1000 kilometres from Hamburg in the Eastern Cape Province, to the Children’s Ward at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town. They raised one hundred and fifty thousand rand (nearly $ 20 000) in support of the Keiskamma Trust and its projects.

This year the bikers will ride the Freedom Trail and we are enormously excited and hope to raise the profile of this event. The dates this year are April 21st through to May 2nd with stops in Cambria, Studits, Willowmore, Rondawel, Prince Albert, Gamkaskloof, Vleiland, Anysberg, Montagu, Bainskloof.

Check out the Freedom Challenge Project

The aim is to raise funds via sponsorships from individuals and corporations and to demonstrate the connections between Cape Town and Hamburg, a city and a rural health district and the challenges we share.

We are looking for individual sponsors, who will be able to follow the progress of their ‘champion’ or ‘champions’ via our blog and Facebook.

As well we will acknowledge donations from business and corporate organizations on our Web sites and through our blog and Facebook, as well as in the Kidzpositive and Keiskamma Newsletters.


Saturday, 5 March 2011

Music Academy Newsletter

Dear friends of the Keiskamma Music Academy,

We started the Keiskamma Music Academy in the village of Hamburg under the auspices of the Keiskamma Trust in 2006. In just over four years more than fifty children have received music tuition, comprising lessons on recorder (soprano, alto, tenor, bass and double bass recorders), theory, marimba and ensemble lessons. Of this number, thirty-two students have become regular pupils who attend several classes each week, enter examinations, and play in various concerts every year. While we still use “classical” training methods, we also incorporate indigenous Xhosa instruments, including marimba and djembe in our performances. Without the infrastructure established by the Keiskamma Trust, this programme would not have been possible.

Students are still selected purely on their expressing interest. It is possible for a child to “try it out” and decide for themselves whether they would like to continue. We have three rules which the children have to obey to keep their positions in the Music Academy.

Lessons and material are free, but students must:

* attend all lessons scheduled.

* take good care of their recorders.

* practice at home.

Lihle Mtshonisi is a founder member of the Music Academy. Together with the other seniors, he did the hard thing of sticking it out with a musical tradition which was utterly foreign to their community. The children who have joined since then have had a much easier task. The Music Academy has premises at the High School, ongoing lessons, an infrastructure, and a standard set by the older children to aspire to. The group chose Lihle as their leader. He has risen so much to the occasion. He combines humility and gentleness with firmness. When he started he was such a little boy, making lots of noise and jokes. Now he is in grade 10, and one of three students who are preparing to take music as a matric subject .

Our biggest challenge remains that we work in a remote rural area. Teachers must travel long distances to reach us.

Our other current challenge is funding: indeed, our funding situation is rather dire at the moment.

Our teaching programme for 2011 incorporates several facets:

Weekly recorder and theory lessons with teachers from Grahamstown, East London or Port Alfred.

Orchestral instrument lessons are in Grahamstown. And we have 3-4 composition and ensemble workshops planned for the year, with further workshops on Xhosa indigenous instruments, the marimba and djembe.

Oliviera Nickolic, who helped me start the Music Academy in 2006, is encouraging the children to step up the amount of practising they do at home to hasten their development. We will sit UNISA exams both in May and in October. The children are very excited about this.

I plan to go to Hamburg roughly every 4-6 weeks to visit the students, and to oversee and plan and manage the various aspects.

The three grade ten students will be preparing to reach the necessary level by grade twelve for music to count as a school subject.

Seven advanced recorder students have started playing solo concertos, which they find exhilarating. They will be entering a national competition in Grahamstown in June. They are so proud of this new accomplishment. Another ten students will start playing orchestral instruments towards the end of the year.

Eight student teachers have started teaching younger students. The seniors are so encouraging to the beginners.

Says Nqophisa in one of our discussions: “What worked for me is that the beginners, they make me feel proud.”

Highlights of 2010:

· The pride and interest that the parents have taken in their children’s musical abilities is a personal highlight of 2010 for me. We now have a parents' committee of four mothers who play an active role in supporting all our endeavours.

· Daniel Hutchinsonhas started helping to create a unique voice for the Music Academy: enabling the children to make music outside the strict confines of the genre of “classical music”. Together with this opportunity for free improvisation, the skills base of the children is being further extended. We have incorporated playing uhadi bow, djembe and marimba as part of our ensemble.

· Our visitors included Senja Barthel from Berlin, who taught for some months last year. She greatly raised the level of recorder playing. Linda de Villiers gave a warm workshop, culminating in teaching the children an arrangement of Waka Waka. The children loved having a teacher from the early years visiting again. Oliviera Nickolic, assisted by Fladia Buongiorno and Kgothatso Kekana, all came as specialist recorder teachers.

· Four students started on orchestral instruments: Lihle on flute, Zimkitha and Nqophisa on clarinet, and Simni on oboe.

· We continue to have young volunteers from the German Development Corporation. Anna Ferl and Gildas Neukam took over from Janna Regenauer.

· UNISA has become one of our sponsors. Sixteen students passed their recorder practical exams with four distinctions, four merits, and eight passes. The seniors wrote their first theoretical exams too.

· We have started a relationship with Ubungani Wilderness Experience, which helps us with environmental education, leadership training and self-esteem development.

Publication of our first book:

Keiskamma Songbook: Aquarium

The book celebrates the beauty of Hamburg, with an arrangement for recorder quartet of Aquarium from Saint Saens' Carnival of the Animals, and twelve pictures of local birds embroidered by the Keiskamma Art Project, showing how to produce their bird calls on the recorder by using extended techniques.The book is a collaborative project between the Art Project and the Music Academy.

The book would appeal to the art and craft lover, the music teacher, the recorder student and the nature lover. The DVD includes a performance by the Keiskamma Music Academy recorder ensemble, and a feature on Hamburg-based artist Vuyisile "Gaba" Funda, whose dune art inspired the choreography of the Aquarium arrangement.

The book was conceived by Daniel Hutchinson, design and layout by Robert Hofmeyr.

It can be ordered from Helen Vosloo:

We also a set of eight cards with pictures of embroideries from the book for sale at R20 per card.

Our current accommodation is in a classroom as St Charles Sojola High School, while we have some access to other classrooms on weekends. We are grateful for our relationship with Ms Thelma Ncumani, the principal of St Charles Sojola High. We are, however, bursting at the seams and I am investigating options towards finding us a home of our own.

The vision for the Keiskamma Music Academy is to uplift the quality of life of vulnerable rural children of Hamburg and surrounds, by creating opportunities through a musical education.

We measure our success not only in terms of exams passed, several of which are with distinction, gold certificates at Eisteddfod or the standing ovations at concerts. Our success is also measured in the personal growth of our students.

In verbal skills development, in young kids being able to express their feelings through music, in harnessing a discipline of music making.

We thank our donors (of 2009 and 2010 combined)

Sopranino donor (up to R4 999)

Don and Marianne Macrobert, Diana Tabor, Julia Davey, John Campbell (Pick 'n Pay Grahamstown), Jobst Bodenstein, Mike Skinner, Graham Gooden (St. Andrew's Prep), Colette Tilley, Dorothy Holder, Garvey Clarke, Priscilla Glover, Peter Breetzke, Kate Davies (National Arts Festival Arts Encounter Programme), Jonathan Ncozana, Robert Hofmeyr, Yannic Herrenknecht, Hilary Tyghe, David Kinghorn, Meg Twyford

Soprano donor (R5 000 up to R9 999)

Dave and Eileen Thayser

Gerard and Helene Weber

Alto donor (R10 000 up to R24 999)

German Development Corporation


The Ackerman Family Educational Trust Fund

Kathleen Sowersby

Industrial Development Corporation

Tenor donor (R25 000 up to R49 999)

Tom and Jean Lloyd

Yamaha South Africa


Arts and Culture Trust

Noel and Fran Coburn

Bass donor (R50 000 up to R99 999)

Rupert Music Foundation

Rand Merchant Bank / Apollo Music Trust


Contra bass donor (R100 000 +)


International Donor

National Arts Council

Oppenheimer Memorial Trust Fund

NB: We are able to issue tax receipts since the Keiskamma Trust has 18A tax status as a registered NPO.

Thank you for keeping the Music Academy in your hearts.

Yours in music

Helen Vosloo

For more information about the Keiskamma Music Academy, contact Helen Vosloo at or at +27 82 664 119

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Art - Design Indaba 2011

The Art Project was at the Design Indaba from the 25th to the 27th of February.

We were at the CCDI/DTI stand with our best-selling Nguni range. our felt accessories as well as new fashion items.
We thank ECDC for their help!

At a separate stand, we were announcing KAMMA a beautiful offspring of the Keiskamma Art Project with all new designs. Click here for pricelist.

We thank all our supporters and visitors who gave us an excellent feed-back on our work!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Education - Capoeira is strong in Hamburg!

The group in Hamburg continue to train hard daily. As some members of the group are leaving town to study at University the group are welcoming new members, taking time to teach the new comers the basics of capoeira.

Having recently received a digital camera and laptop the group are now keen to use these tools, they have plans to make a documentary about the group; it’s beginnings, members day to day lives and what it is that keeps them training each day.

The prospect of a visit from Luis Negao in June/July is something all the group are very much looking forward to.

The group have an exciting year of plans ahead which will be made possible from recent fundraising efforts in the uk and in the Education programme of the Keiskamma Trust. The plans include performances at local festivals and a trip to a local game park for performances, history of capoeira and music practice. The group are also beginning to incorporate HIV and AIDs education into their activity plans to look at lifestyle and how this influences health.

It was a pleasure to see the group again and to train with them, they play very good capoeira, and the energy in their rodas is something we can all aim for.

Post by Kat Carpenter (Morena Clara) - Abolicao Oxford

Art - Ceramics workshops

The Art Project hosted two ceramics workshops thanks to MTN SA Foundation.

In October 2010, Margy Malan ran a one-month workshop

Nine adults attended. Some had little or no practice in drawing. All engaged with enthusiasm and determination.

The first part of the workshop consisted in drawing and observation using sketch books and digital camera to collect data for a journal. The handcrafting of the books in the form of a journal, cardboard boxes became rich tactile pages line drawing in pencil and brush as well as watercolours, gouache and collages, telling stories.

Photographic images portraying homes enabled access to the inner story – each person has a unique contribution.

Margy Malan went to the homes of all nine people to make photos. This contributed in a closeness and sharing and being able to have friendship and understanding working on the books and pottery.

Then came practical steps in pottery hand technique and the application of design – extracted from journal, using appropriate technique – simple press moulds (original moulds – not plaster of Paris) and slab technique with colour pigments for decor – there is the added advantage of utilising the printing facility for decal application.

The firing of entire works to completion – Bisc and glaze, slab making for press moulding was prevalent using a bisc bowl and plate. These shapes became canvass for interpreting images from their journals. They used underglaze paints on green and bisc ware – with transparent overglaze – mixing of glaze and glaze application – as well as packing and firing the kiln.
The students were experimenting using the decals from the photographic images of their journals onto their own smoke fired pots. They also tested decals on commercial white china.

An exhibition was set in December 2010 for the official opening of the ceramics studio. The decal decors were much appreciated and sales were successful.

In February 2011, Susan Sellschop ran a one-week workshop

The participants experimented clay printing process using a monotype technique and cobalt oxide as the print medium.

Slab making techniques were demonstrated and the slabs made into a flat dish and a tall cylinder vase that would be suitable to make using the printed slabs.

Two glass sheets were covered with a cobalt oxide and frit mix and dried ready for the demonstration.

All participants were asked to make a plant drawing ready for the next step of the process.
The printing technique was demonstrated using layout paper with a drawing of an aloe on it. The drawing was transferred to a slab which was later formed into a flat dish. Printed slabs were also made into cylinder vases.

After bisque firing, a process of colouring the drawings in a soft, water-colour technique was demonstrated.
All the bisque ware was glazed.

The firing was successful and the well-finished items are booked for an exhibition at Oude Libertas in July 2011.

Post by Florence Danais
after reports by Margy Malan and Susan Sellschop

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Art - South African Tourism

The South African Tourism website recommends the Keiskamma Art Project.

Click here to read the online article.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Music - Plans for 2011

Our year started with an intensive teaching week with Kgothatso Kekano. Anna Ferl’s help (volunteer from the DED) was indispensable. As the children stated their highlights of the week, the beginners’ group mentioned how proud they feel to have started doing theory too. The kids also revel in the opportunity to excel and progress as fast as they determine through their own diligence.

Kgothatso Kekana (she is centre standing with a black top) hails from Mamelodi, Pretoria. She has just completed her BMUS majoring in recorder at the University of Pretoria under Mandy Low.

Our teaching programme for 2011 incorporates several facets and staff:

1) Weekly recorder and theory lessons with teachers from the cities close by.

2) The orchestral instrument component happens in Grahamstown since the closest teachers are in these centres. Three –four composition and ensemble workshops are planned for this year.

3) Expert recorder teachers come and teach about three to four times per annum (mostly during school holidays). During these sessions students have two lessons a day and the progress is phenomenal! These expert teachers are sometimes from within South Africa, sometimes from abroad.

4) I go to Hamburg roughly every four – six weeks to visit with the students, oversee and plan and manage the various aspects.

Compiled by Helen Vosloo, Founder

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Music - Christmas concerts

We culminated last year with two Christmas Concerts: the first at the Old Hall in Hamburg on the17th of December. We had a full house! What a wonderful experience!
In this picture our visiting teacher Oliviera Nikolic and her student Fladia Bonguorno are playing Pachelbel Canon with a group of more senior students.
Our second Concert at Richmond House Museum in Port Alfred also drew a full house. In this photo the group is playing Ubuhle Bendoda, a Xhossa Wedding Song: another beautiful arrangement for the Keiskamma Music Academy by Daniel Hutchinson.

Post by Helen Vosloo