Do you know the quote “when music hits, you feel no pain”? (Bob Marley & the Wailers – Trench Town Rocks) Those lyrics ring true for our beneficiaries on the Steinhoff Extended Family Programme at the Zola Drop-in Centre in Soweto.
In 2014, staff member and professional singer, Lebohang Mgobozi, started the Steinhoff Community Choir with the help of staff members Mamoletse Nkadimeng and Mfanafuthi Nkosi.
To make sure that Lebohang and her team achieve their objectives they need help. The 25 member choir, aged between thirteen and twenty, has had a taste of performing for crowds, their most memorable being their performance in front of the Abraham Kriel Childcare Board. They would like to take part in competitions and hopefully make an appearance on the gospel television channel, Dumisa Television. “We would love to do more performances and it would be great if someone would provide us with a uniform as that will make us look like a complete unit”, says Lebohang.
Lebohang tells the story: “I started the choir because I saw the potential these children have to become more than their circumstances. They have a passion for music and it is good for them spiritually and emotionally”. The aim of the choir is to give hope to the beneficiaries through music. The choir offers them discipline and makes sure that they find a balance with school and life outside of school.
These children, many of them orphaned, are from homes where most families are sustained by a social grant. The choir has helped our beneficiaries face the world. Music is spiritual. You can get lost or find yourself in it. The Mnculwane siblings seem to have found themselves in it.
The choir has been a place of solace for the siblings aged seventeen and nineteen. Their family home is in need of renovations but that is not possible because the siblings are still at school and their elder sister is unemployed. Their late grandmother did all she could with the pension money she received to raise her grandchildren. The choir played a pivotal role when the family lost the grandmother. The choir was not just an activity that kept them busy but it became a form of bereavement therapy for the siblings.
They enjoy being a part of the choir and it has given them the confidence to want to take their talent to greater heights. “This brother and sister duo is talented. They have grown so much musically, vocally and otherwise. They play an important role in our choir and make sure they recruit others to join us. Today, they are the lead singers at their church and they make me so proud”, says Lebohang.