Music classes at Eluxolweni Primary School in Khayelitsha have been interrupted after thieves stole trumpets, saxophones, trombones, keyboards, a drum kit, cymbals and stands, acoustic guitars, a guitar amp and bass amps earlier this month.
This is the second time in a few weeks that the school has been robbed. Earlier this year five computers and a laptop were stolen during a break-in.
The musical instruments were provided by the Institute for Indigenous Music and Arts Development (IMAD), and offered access to music education and performance to Eluxolweni’s Grade 4 to Grade 6 learners.
Music teacher Babalwa Meintjies showed GroundUp how the burglar gate and door to the blue shipping container, where the instruments were stored, had been broken by thieves.
She said the theft had “hit hard”. “You should have seen the sadness and tears when the children heard the news. It was like they lost hope,” said Meintjies.
The programme of music teaching was started in 2007 in schools in Eluxolweni, Lansdowne and Langa, she said. At Eluxolweni about 65 learners were taught after class and on Saturdays. They learned how to play, read and compose music. They learned guitar, singing, drums, trombone, saxophone and trumpet, and on Fridays they had an ensemble where all the learners came together to play music.
Grade 6 learner Siphesihle Mani plays the saxophone. She said she started playing the instrument, which took her three months to master, last year.
“We are very hurt by what happened. The classes I take have made me love music and I have decided that I want to go to a high school where music is offered so I can continue playing,” she said.
Sange Potwana, also a Grade 6 learner at Eluxolweni, said he started playing the piano in 2017. “It took me about two months to learn how to play the piano and I know my keys and I can play different songs.”
Meintjies said people had responded to a call on social media for donations to replace the instruments. “I am confident that the more people see the post on Facebook, the more donations we will get,” she said.
Police spokesperson Frederick van Wyk said a case of burglary had been opened for investigation. “Investigation is still continuing. No arrests yet and no property recovered thus far.”