• Bongani Tembe CEO and Artistic Director of the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra

Chairman: Bongani Thembe

I have been associated with the Durban Music School for the past 12 years as patron and then 2013 I was appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors. This youth arts development centre has grown beyond all expectations and now averages 450 learners a year, with 400 of them being orphans/vulnerable children on full music bursary. The school is situated in the Albert Park area, which is an area with many challenges regarding its social and economic climate but this area was chosen on purpose as we want to uplift, empower and make a difference to this community. 

Our mission is to be able to give children, who would otherwise not be able to study music, the opportunity to have a musical education and we are involved in rural outreach programmes in Inchanga and Hammersdale. We bring orphans/ vulnerable children from these areas. Many are HIV positive, to the school once a week for a practical and theory lesson. We also have a group of learners from a primary school in Kwamashu who come to the school for lessons and we send teachers to the Open Air School, a school for physically disabled children 4 days a week to teach approximately 100 children. We are involved in cultural exchange programmes and our senior ensemble has travelled to many countries as well as having won a very prestigious international competition in Vienna in 2009. They beat China and America by 11 points, scoring 93%. We have had excellent results this year with our Royal Schools of Music and Trinity College of music exams. We entered 77 learners and one of our learners Celukuthulo Ngema did his Trinity College of London ATCL recital on trumpet and achieved 92%. 

This year the eThekwini  Municipality recognised the school by coming on board and granting for which we are very grateful. We are looking forward to 2014 as we will have a new auditorium which we was donated by National Lotteries and our senior Ensemble has been invited to perform in China for 2 weeks at the beginning of the year. This music school continues to be a place of excellence and each year it achieves great results, be it with international music exams, the concerts which the musicians perform, the training it gives in the many different ensembles, its outreach programmes, the tours and cultural exchanges or overall holistic music education is offers. Many learners every year find employment in the music industry or continue their music education at tertiary institutions. I am proud of the achievements of the Durban Music School and look forward to another exciting and productive year.