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New Books

A huge thank you to Gemma Black and Kyanne Smith for the selection of amazing books for the Outreach Foundation! Thank you too to Sophie Bilas, Helen Baldwin, Georgia Mallory and Claudia Martinez for helping raise money to fund this wonderful initiative.
Yay! to the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama honours group who did such amazing work with us this year. We were hoping Gemma and Kyanne would return this year to help lead a new partnership with the Speech and Drama College, South Africa – we still hope they will join us next year.
Next year the Outreach Foundation’s performing arts programme with engage published texts for the first time in partnership with the Speech and Drama College. Watch this space!

Vuyani Week

Market Theatre Laboratory 7 year partnership

Coco was born to play piano

I was introduced to Outreach Foundation by a friend in 2009. I wanted to do piano lessons but all the classes were
full so I settled on another instrument, but it really wasn’t what I wanted. I played some other instruments, but my
passion was piano and I hankered for it. Some of the students didn’t pitch for their lessons and so I was given the
opportunity to take their spot behind the piano.
“My teacher,” Amisi (Coco) Mubale recalls, “was Maggie Fletcher and she took me under her wing.
“She told me that she’d teach me in such a way that I would be able to play and then compose. I wasn’t sure what
was happening in the beginning though, it was hard. Piano isn’t easy”.
Coco, a refugee living in South Africa, took his lessons very seriously. He was committed. Although he moved to
Centurion in 2010, he made a plan to get to Hillbrow, come what may.
“It was hard. But I knew how important the lessons and the organisation were to me, so I made a plan. My hard work
paid off, as in 2011, I wrote my first piano exam, then another in 2012. I was told I was too good for the grade 1
exam, so I was to do the grade 2 exam, but as I was about to do it, I was told I needed to do the grade 3 exam. I was
shocked and happy that I had progressed so much.
“In 2013 I did the grade 4 and 5 exams, then in 2014, the University of South Africa (UNISA) changed some of their
qualifications and so I had to wait. I then did grade 4 theory and grade 6 practical and in 2017, I did assessments and
more theory. By 2018, I was told to skip grade 7 theory, and go straight to grade 8 practical and theory. I was
delighted and amazed at my journey”.
But Coco’s journey with music started when he was very young. Where he grew up there was an African folk lore
group that combined a variety of traditional instruments.
“Their music influenced me from when I was a small boy. I was also singing since the age of two. Music was always
inside me. The piano: my choice of instrument, as when my uncle offered me a small keyboard to play as a boy,
although I didn’t know what I was doing, it felt right to me and I knew I wanted to learn more”.
Coco also didn’t know that one could study and obtain a qualification in music until he came to Outreach
“When I left my country due to its history of war, I was desperate. I had no direction. I was looking for help, and I
couldn’t believe that I managed to find an organisation that could help me. I made a promise to myself that for as
long as I was living in South Africa, I’d come to Outreach Foundation, as Maggie was like a mother to me and the
organisation, another home. She told me about UNISA and encouraged me to study.
“She inspired me to work harder. She inspired me to become a teacher. I want to teach others the beauty of music!
Coco completed his grade 8 practical and theory of music exams in December 2018. This is the highest qualification
attainable for the graded examinations by UNISA.
“Music is my life! In addition to teaching, I want to become a composer. I want to experiment. I love mixing
traditional and classic music like Rhythmic guitar and traditional Ngoma music”.
Says Maggie Fletcher, about Coco: “He is my first student to go up to grade 8, and I cannot believe that when he
began, he knew nothing about piano and theory. He is a remarkable young man as in the space of three years; he
has completed his qualification. I and Outreach Foundation are very proud of him, and we can’t wait for him to teach
our students”.

The Power of Theater

Facilitators workshop

The outreach foundation facilitators went away for 3 days to Loskop Damn to share and exchange knowledge and information. It was a very intense and interesting couple of days which saw the facilitators grow as individuals as well as a team.

Discussions at the table

Leader’s Getaway

We recently held a kids week for our staff and youth leaders with the goal of reinventing the program and revitalizing our methods in order to give our children the best experience possible.

What we most spoke about was the fact that Kids Week has been running the same way for 20 years and now we feel like its time for change.

We came up with kids week themes for the coming 3 kids weeks from now and we worked on and discussed the project sustainability of kids week as a whole. Leaders received different topics and we all tackled them with open minds.

The sessions were very progressive and we cant wait for them to be developed and implemented. Watch this space.

International Quilting Festival

Welcome to our new volunteers

The Outreach Foundation is happy to welcome our new volunteers Ben Storjohann and Tim Stoklossa to our team. Ben will be joining our computer team and Tim will be joining our counselling team. We are excited to see what we will achieve together and cannot wait to see the impact we have on our community.

Ben Storjohann
Tim Stoklossa

A message from Tim

My name is Tim Stoklossa and I am from Hannover, Germany. I graduated
High School in June and in August I came to South Africa to work at the
Outreach Foundation and to discover the country and the culture.
In Germany I sang in a choir and played guitar. Also I worked in a youth
group in my church.
In my few days here I got to know a lot of people. They all
were very obliging and were glad to meet me. I am very happy to be here
and I hope to gather many new experiences here.

A message from Ben

My name is Ben Storjohann and I am from Frankfurt, Germany. I just graduated High School and I am now taking a gap year. I’m really grateful to be able to work at the Lutheran Outreach Foundation. The amount of courses and opportunities to grow, that are offered here at the Foundation truly amaze me. I’m loving the country, the culture and the people so far and can’t wait to get to know the area and my colleagues even further. Thank you for being so welcoming and I hope we can create some awesome memories in the next year together.

15th Inner-City High Schools Drama Festival

A huge congratulations to all those who competed in the 15th Inner-City High Schools Drama Festival over the past two weeks. The turnout was amazing and the performances were outstanding. This programme is made possible through funding from City of Johannesburg – Arts Alive Festival, Department of Arts and Culture, Rand Merchant Bank, Ford Foundation, Bread for the World. Our valued partners include the Market Theatre Laboratory, GALA, Drama for Life, Exclusive Books and Assitej South Africa.

In a week that has brought violence and hatred to our neighbourhood the festival persisted to provide a positive and safe space for young people to share their stories. We thank all the schools that joined us after two days of suspending the festival and all those who joined us afterwards. Thank you to the adjudicators, teachers, parents, learners, Drama for Life students and interns, Underground Entertainment and to the festival team and staff who supported us through this week!

Everyone who joined us for the festival is a winner, learners, parents and teachers alike. The following is the list of awards we gave out at the event:

Best Production Award: Barnato Park High School

2nd Best Production: Thuto Lore Comprehensive

3rd Best Production: Bokamoso Secondary School

4th Best Production: E.D. Mashabane Secondary School

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Andani Nnetshifnifhe – Vuwani Secondary School

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Simphiwe Nkosi Lucia – Ikusasa Comprehensive School Greenfield

Best Runner-up Actor in a Lead Role: Ntate Philimon Selolo – Bokamoso Secondary School

Best Runner-up Actress in a Lead Role: Musa Mabena – BASA Tutorial College

Best Actor in a Lead Role: Jackson Mogotlane – Barnato Park High School

Best Actress in a Lead Role: Karabo Kgatle – Barnato Park High School

Best Poster Design: Linda Shabangu – Ikusasa Comprehensive School

Best Technical: “O KAE NGWANA” – Thuto Lore Comprehensive School

Best Costume Design: Uncommon Feelings – Barnato Park High School

Best Set Design: “PARUKA” – Bokamoso Secondary School

Best Cameo Role: Wiseman Mapheto – St Enda’s

Best Ensemble Production: Iskiko – E.D. Mashabane Secondary School

Best Original Script: Uncommon Feelings – Barnato Park High School

School which traveled the Longest Distance: East Rand School of Arts

Special Mention for Consistent Participation: St Edna’s Secondary School, Barnato Park School, Centurion College.

Spirit of the Festival Award: Mr Z Ndlovu from Centurion College – Inner-City Arts Chamion. Cherae Halley – for her dedicated work towards inclusivity at Sizwile School for the Deaf.

Adjudicators Special Mention Award: Sizwile School for the Deaf, Alexandra High School, Selelekeka Secondary School, Rand Tutorial College.

It was wonderful to have John Meletse, queer deaf activist, return to the Inner-City High Schools Drama Festival! Inspiring words as we celebrate Deaf Awareness Week. Thank you to Cherae Halley and Sizwile School for the Deaf for again being part of our festival!

New Pretoria Offices

We are excited to announce the opening of our new Migrant Support offices in Pretoria.

For more information visit our Facebook page here.

Goodbye to our volunteer

Today we bid farewell to our volunteers. 
A big thank you to Christian Niebuhr who played a generous role at the Music Centre; mostly supporting Mubale Amisi, our new theory and piano teacher. Much time printing worksheets, setting up a computer with music software and being a gentle presence in the centre.
All the best for your studies and safe travels home.

Inner-City High Schools Drama Festival 2019

Come and join us for our annual Inner-City High Schools Drama Festival. It will be held in the Hillbrow Theatre between the 30th of August and the 7th of September.

A big thank you to all who are helping to make this event as great as it always is.

Friend, mentor, arts champion, supporter of our Inner-City High Schools Drama Festival for over 8 years! Mpho Molepo will join the adjudication team again this year.

Khutjo Green brings her magic to our 15th Inner-City High Schools Drama Festival. She will be adjudicating 40 original works devised by learners and facilitators and exploring gender and sexuality.

Super excited to announce that Napo Masheane will return to to once again adjudicate at our 15th Inner City High Schools Drama Festival.

… This City and I know each other well
We like two stars residing on the same blanket
But never speak to one another
Day in – day out
Our dreams cling on fragile walls
Leaking roofs
Smelling drains
Stolen wires
Its night air chills tears on both our cheeks
Willing us to play and pray
And in the midst of its reality
This city and I
Dream that each child born of it
Will dream and believe
Beyond the dream it’s self…
From: Jozi by Napo Masheane

To the ambassador of our Inner-City High Schools Drama Festival, Dumisani Dlamini! …to the man who can walk into a school (If we are experiencing an issue – “Why should we do arts” or “that group makes too much noise”) and straight into the headmaster’s office. He smiles… gets the drama group to join them in the principal’s office and then gets the learners to speak about their passion for the arts. The principal is sold!

The Outreach Foundation’s Inner-City High Schools Drama Festival celebrates 15 years of inspiring young learners to share their stories. Our theme this year, Gender and Sexuality, will hopefully give facilitators, teachers and learners the courage to explore the unhealthy silence around these topics that plagues our country, and encourage us all to engage this topic individually and in our communities long after the festival closes. On the journey of re-imagining ourselves, we want to inspire and encourage all who witness the festival to imagine playful alternatives to how we define ourselves.

Thank you to our funders; Rand Merchant Bank, Ford Foundation, Bread for the World, City of Johannesburg – Arts Alive Festival 2019. To our valued partners; Market Theatre Laboratory, Drama for Life, GALA, Assitej South Africa.
Thank you to Underground Entertainment for their support.
15 years of promoting arts in education! Telling our stories!

Maggie Fletcher – A wonderful example of a great music teacher

“Teaching aims to teach independence. We lead, explain and then we encourage our students to do things for themselves. Those who do, achieve. Every step they take is an achievement”.

So says Maggie Fletcher who has been a piano and recorder teacher at Outreach Foundation for the past 17 years. About to retire, Maggie has taught many, many people throughout her years at the organisation.

“I get immense joy out of teaching people and seeing the pleasure they get from the music, especially when they catch on to what they are learning. I have found my years of teaching incredible worthwhile and rewarding”.

Maggie has had an interesting career. She is a workaholic and very loyal. She worked for the SABC for 20 years where, amongst other things she got involved in, she conducted in-house training and was the music programme producer. She then landed up teaching at a high school that provides arts and music training (the school is now known as Pro Arte Alphen Park situated in the East of Pretoria). Her inquisitive mind and willingness to learn more about all the art forms enabled her to gain knowledge about the other focus areas of the school such as dance and drama.

All this experience in so many areas was a welcome addition to Outreach Foundation when she joined it in 2002 as a music teacher. With programmes that included music, drama and other arts, she was well suited to work for the organisation.

“I’ve been incredibly lucky in my career. Everywhere I have been, has been a rewarding experience.

“Teaching in Hillbrow has been gratifying. I am happy. I have come into contact with people who have broadened my world.

“The area has a tremendous buzz to it. It is a complex place filled with people from a variety of countries.

“Our students vary in age and in their musical interests. Many people think music theory is a dead subject, but our students love to learn the facts. They want to know more about it. One such student is Coco, a refugee who came to us with a passion for the piano.

“Coco is the first of my students to go all the way up to Grade 8 in music. He started as someone knowing nothing, but I quickly realised that he had talent. After three years, I had to refresh my knowledge. I had to go back to all the things I had learnt many years before so that I could continue to teach him. He picked things up so quickly.

“He has a fantastic way of focusing and is very intelligent. If I told him to go and do research, he would.

“Coco has been assisting me for a while now, and I hope he will continue to share his music and help others, especially after I have retired. He is one of my biggest success stories. I’m very proud of him.  I’m proud of all my students.

“Music foundation in my opinion, is essential. You need to learn the principles around it first. It teaches discipline. Once you learn the techniques, you can branch out into other music genres.

 “Music is a message on its own. Children gain from learning music. It’s an experience that will last them for a lifetime and has so many important spin-offs.

“It can be challenging with those who don’t ‘get it’ at first, but I learnt an important lesson from a singing teacher many years ago with regard to a hesitant student. She said that when they find their voice, they really find their voice. They just need to believe and have patience. And you, as a teacher, just need to try your best to make lessons an enjoyable experience.

“I have always tried to do that. I try to bring my passion for music into my lessons.”

And it seems she has succeeded in her mission. Her students love her and say she’s more like a mother, not a teacher. Throughout the years she has inspired so many students to continue with music and to love the art.

She has inspired Coco, for one, to become a music teacher and to become a composer.

“We will all miss her once she goes on retirement,” says Gerard Bester, Outreach Foundation’s Performing Arts Manager.

“Maggie has touched so many lives with her passion for music and will certainly leave a legacy of achievement for which she can be enormously proud, and is an example of a great music teacher.

“All of us at Outreach Foundation wish you well as you enter the next phase of your life, and we’d like to thank you for your dedication.

“Congratulations on your retirement!”

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