A reader writes in with a request for help with his South African Youth Band.
Editor’s Note: This letter has been edited for language clarity.
My name is Danville Africa. I’m running a music project in Paarl, Western Cape a little town in the Cape Winelands of South Africa. We teach under privileged children to play musical instruments and how to read music, and we need help. We have 146 children and youths taking part in this music project, called the Boland Youth Band. We started this to keep the children busy and to keep them positive throughout life.
I just want you to close your eyes for a second and just imagine that you are a 6-year-old boy living in a shack with a family of eight family members. Alcohol, drugs, rape and gangs are what you experience every day. Your mother has passed away and your dad is in prison. These are the type of children that take part in the music project. I myself was robbed in my house four years ago and my wife was raped in front of me and my children. I made peace with it and this was my reason to start this project: to prevent children from going that route and to show them that there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel.
There is so much that I can tell you about these children. My wife and I teach every day from 6-8 o’clock. We feed the students and even pay school fees for some of them. We are blessed by a Good Samaritan that sponsors bread, so at least after practice or class we can send them home with some bread for their families. We have won several music competitions in these last four years. We play all kinds of music: big band, military, classical to marching band music and also gospel. We really want to start a marching band.
I need help from you guys and I know the Lord will show you our needs. I need help with instruments and sound. We only have 80 instruments and the quality of is not so great but we do the best we can. My wife and I bought them out of our own pocket, second hand or where we can get them cheap. We are struggling and we don’t have any help from anyone, and have tried everywhere. I know the Lord has put you on our path for a reason. Please help me make all of these children’s dream come true so they may become respectable and successful people in life. May God Bless you in your decision.
We teach: trumpet, french horn, euphonium, trombone, tuba, saxophones (tenor, baritone and alto) and also percussion (drum kit, congas and marching drums). You can also see a video of us on YouTube, Search “Boland Youth Band.” I’m the director in front. We do a piece called “Thanks Be To Go.” The video was taken a couple of years ago.
Please Help Us,
+27 714833714+27 714833714