Kronendal Music Academy in financial trouble

Member of the KMA jazz band, Aviwe Kapuzu, fine-tuning his notes on the saxophone.

A non-profit music academy in Hout Bay that stopped its lessons after running into money problems last year is on a mission to turns things around.

The Kronendal Music Academy (KMA) started in 2007, providing free music lessons and instruments to children who would have otherwise been unable to afford them. But the academy has been struggling to stay afloat.

Academy director Dwyn Griesel, says they have more than 180 pupils and are determined to get classes started again.

Imizamo Yethu’s Aviwe Kapuzu, who is part of KMA’s jazz band, said that if it were not for the academy, he would not have had the chance to travel abroad or discover his passion for playing the saxophone.

During his final year at Hout Bay High in 2011, Mr Kapuzu attended James House, an NGO that provides basic needs for children in the community. It was there he met Ms Griesel and picked up the saxophone for the first time.

“I always played soccer with my friends after school and never thought for one moment about becoming a musician,” said Mr Kapuza.

But he ended up in a music programme in which he found himself playing the sax.

“Initially we were about 40 who took part in that programme and only 14 of us continued until the end because it was difficult to grasp. Two months later, myself and another pupil were asked to join the jazz band.

“I was 17-years-old at the time and had to learn 36 songs in the space of six months for me to go with the band on tour to Germany,” he said.

Mr Kapuzu made the cut and was off to perform in Europe with that tour being the start of many other local tours and performanceson his musical journey.

Last year, the band toured Scotland and performed at a jazz and blues festival.

“Flying to Germany was my first time on an airplane… I haven’t even travelled outside of Cape Town before. Over there we collaborated with other bands, visited schools and did sightseeing. What was really funny was that I was over there teaching senior students to play, whereas I was only playing for about eight months and got to teach South African jazz.

“The experience was great. I got to meet some professional musicians, got to jam with them, had the opportunity to travel and perform in theatres. My stand-out moment has to be when we performed in Edinburgh in front of thousands of people, and we opened up the show. It was really epic,” he said.

Ms Griesel and her colleagues are looking at severals ideas to raise money for the academy so they can find the other Aviwe Kapuzus out there.

One of the ideas involves the Cape Town Cycle Tour, which Ms Griesel has ridden in since 2008.

“Basically, people can sponsor our rides per kilometre and entries over R500 will be entered into a raffle which has really nice prizes. We rely on donations and grants… we do also have paying students but our fees for the paying students go directly to the teachers,” she said.

“By the end of last year, we had a serious decline from our funding which left us in a situation where we had to re-evaluate our funding strategy. We were struggling big time and it felt like a big failure and we decided we were not going to teach this first school term and just try to raise the funds to start up again in the second term,” she

Despite being in the situation they find themselves in, Ms Griesel still hopes that one day the academy will have its own premises, with an amphitheatre where people can watch the students perform.

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