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'The main obstacle to expansion of the project is lack of equipment and funding'


'The project helps them bypass the poverty trap'

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Izivunguvungu Music Project

The Izivunguvungu Music Project is part of a larger social outreach organisation, supervised by the South African Navy. The former Director of Music, Cdr Mike Oldham, instigated the project in 1996 with the assistance of musicians from the Navy Band who visited local disadvantaged schools.

Brass Band groups were established, using a very limited number of second-hand instruments, and with the basic principle that all members must learn to read music and that they will commence group work as a priority. Having retired from the Navy, Cdr Oldham continues to run this project in several of the socially deprived areas, working closely with the school authorities and parent groups, coordinating with the Flag Officer Commanding of the Naval Base in Simon's Town.


'Music has always been known to enrich life'

Music has always been known to enrich life, but in this instance it can be a means of saving lives, and there are instances of young people being saved from the drug cultures and the crime entrapments which are features of many disadvantaged areas in South Africa.

Amateur footage of the Izivunguvungu band performing
during the Knysna festival in 2008. (600KB)

Aged from 10 to 18 years, the members are occupied mainly after normal school hours, returning to the classroom to begin performing on brass instruments and percussion, eventually performing in their own communities plus in the larger Cape Town area. They link up with the Navy during the annual Festival in Simon's Town and have an annual visit to the Arts Festival in Knysna.

SA Navy Band march, 25-3-2006
Navy Festival band march through Simon's Town

The main obstacle to expansion of the project, urgently needed to assist many more young people escape a dull and often dangerous existence, is lack of equipment and funding for maintenance, etc. Even second-hand brass instruments are welcome, if they are repairable, in order to ensure that the disadvantaged youth of our country can begin to experience a more enriching way of life.

The project helps them bypass the poverty trap that precludes art and music while learning that crime, drugs and irresponsible sex can be avoided in a new way of life that has its own more meaningful experiences.

Shack band

Masiphumelele township


If you're able to assist this project, please get in touch with:

Flag Officer Commanding Naval Base Simon's Town
Rear Admiral (JG) J.E. Louw
Office: (021) 787 3672
Mobile: 082 807 8056, or

Commander (Ret) Mike J. Oldham
Mobile: 082 445 6857, or

Commander Kenny Leibbrandt
Office: (021) 787 4059    

We thank you!


The Cornet means “little
horn”. It came into being
in the 19th century and
has always had valves.

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revision date: Tuesday, March 09, 2010

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