Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The Art Project and the A.R.T. show

The Keiskamma Guernica was on show at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2012 in Washington, DC.

Keiskamma artist Nokuphiwa Gedze demonstrating felt making at the Folklife Festival
Photograph by Glenn Fry

Monday, 16 July 2012

Keiskamma Music Academy at the National Arts Festival

Keiskamma Music Academy is proud to have completed three successful performances at the 2012 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.  In addition to sharing our music with diverse audiences and attending many other Festival shows, the Music Academy received a Standard Bank Ovations Encore Award for excellence in music education.  This award will help fund a new production for the 2013 National Arts Festival.

It was wonderful to see our ensemble of fifteen senior students perform together at Festival.  Our concert included recorders, marimbas, percussion, flute, clarinets, saxophone, violins, and guitar.  Some of our students have been working hard on new instruments and have made incredible progress in their music making.  Before we began our dress rehearsal, we wrote a list of things to remember to help us play musically: smile; stand up straight; move with the music; look at each other.  One of the students called out a new addition: “play like we are a family”.

During our first concert, a solo flute came in three beats early.  Other students recognized the mistake instantly and glanced around nervously, working together to keep the music going.  The rest of the piece was shaky but finished in a polished, if unintended, ending.  Afterwards, the flautist approached with his head hanging: “please don’t say anything to me about that piece…”

“I won’t say anything at all about it.  But you need to say ‘thank you’ to all your friends for fixing it.”

A small smile, a head held higher, a little more confidence.  The next performance was perfect, happy glances exchanged as everyone found correct entrances.  Playing like a family.

In addition to our performing ensemble of fifteen students, the rest of the Keiskamma Music Academy joined us on the last day of Festival to participate in the fun of Grahamstown.  We enjoyed shopping at the market and watching a performance by the Los Angeles Children’s Choir.  Their concert included several African songs that were familiar to Keiskamma Music Academy children; the choristers were delighted to have such an enthusiastic audience.

As we wind down from the National Arts Festival, we are gearing up for UNISA exams in September and October, and we are excited about performances as part of the French Season in South Africa in November.  Watch this space for more details!

Text by Jen Hoyer

Photos by William Martinson

Sunday, 8 July 2012


Carol Hofmeyr, founder of the Keiskamma Trust, will be in London UK this week, accepting a prestigious award from the Royal College of Physicians.

Carol has been elected to be awarded a  Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians, the highest level of membership, in the independent professional membership organization and registered charity, which represents over 27,000 physicians in the UK and internationally. 

All of us at the Trust are incredibly proud that Carol’s achievements and expertise in medicine are being recognized by this international board and we send her our warmest congratulations and best wishes as she accepts this award.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Music Academy: Khanyi Cuka is awarded the Hennie Joubert Merit Prize

We had a delightful surprise a couple of weeks ago when we heard from UNISA that one of our Music Academy students, Khanyi Cuka, was to receive a Hennie Joubert Merit Prize for her exceptional result in her Grade 2 alto recorder exam in August 2011.

We knew last year that all our students had done exceptionally well, with 8 Merits, 19 Distinctions and 3 young people achieving over 90% in their practical exams. However we were thrilled for Khanyi to receive this extra special award which is only offered to the top three candidates nationally per grade.

Other students who were placed on the role of honour are: Aviwe Nkani (pre grade 1 theory), Wonke Mapuma (soprano recorder grade 2), Khanyi Cuka (soprano recorder grade 3)..

The award comes with a R650  prize too, but most importantly, it validates the achievements of the Music Academy programme and the hard work of both pupils AND their teachers.

The students are currently preparing for another round of practical and theory exams this coming August, and Khanyi's success will surely spur them on to be up there with the best in the country!

Brenda Fishwick

Health Programme: a partnership with PWRDF and CIDA

From Canada Newswire website:

TORONTO, June 28, 2012 /CNW/ - The Primate's World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) is undertaking, with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), a health care project in South Africa.  PWRDF will contribute half a million dollars over five years towards the$2 million project that will focus on preventing HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis among pregnant women in the Ngqushwa district of the Eastern Cape, South Africa.
"This project will train village health workers to run education programs in their communities about prevention of and care for people infected and affected by HIV and AIDS and TB," said Adele Finney, Executive Director of PWRDF. "The HIV infection rate in Ngqushwa district is 17.5% in the general population, and a staggering 33-45% amongst pregnant women.  Those who are HIV positive in the region are at a greater risk of contracting TB.  The project will therefore encourage HIV and TB testing, especially among child-bearing women and their partners.  A family-centred approach will improve the survival rate of infants and children, as well as their mothers."
The program will reach about 30,000 people in the region, increasing access by 43% to anti-retroviral drugs among children under 16, through the South African government's HIV and AIDS Directorate.  It will mobilize communities to promote HIV and TB prevention, care, and testing, and provide counseling to pregnant women and specialized training to government health providers.
Over the five years of the program, HIV and TB infection rates will decrease as awareness of and support for testing, prevention, and treatment increase, especially among children in the region.  The village health workers recruited and trained by this program will promote HIV and AIDS education, testing, early access to health care and treatment for patients before they become chronically ill.
PWRDF has a 40 year working relationship with CIDA, and looks forward to its continuing work with the Keiskamma Trust, the implementing partner in Ngqushwa.
Image with caption: "An HIV+ mother and child visit Keiskamma Trust for treatment and counseling.  (CNW Group/The Primate's World Relief and Development Fund)". Image available at:
For further information:
Zaida Bastos
CIDA Program Coordinator