Redefine Properties has partnered with the Buskaid Soweto String Project since 2013 and has, for the second consecutive year, been honoured at the annual Business Day Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) Awards for its support of the arts. Redefine was recently awarded the International Sponsorship Award for its contribution to Buskaid’s 2014 tour of the United Kingdom.
Andrew Konig, Chief Executive of Redefine, said Redefine supported Buskaid because of the well documented, all-encompassing benefits of music education. Buskaid provides an opportunity for children in Diepkloof to learn and play classical music as part of a comprehensive after-care community service. Children benefit from string tuition of the highest quality. ‘An exceptional music education is only the beginning of the value Buskaid brings into the lives of children. Buskaid shares life skills and provides opportunities to disadvantaged children to become tomorrow’s leaders,’ said Konig.
The ten-day UK tour included performances to full houses at Cheltenham Town Hall, St Georges in Bristol, Boughton House in Kettering, and Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, as well as a fund-raising concert at the home of Sir Vernon Ellis, Chair of the British Council. The musicians also took part in a ‘flash mob’ on Trafalgar Square that attracted significant media attention. At the concert at London’s Southbank Centre, the eminent Welsh composer Karl Jenkins guest-conducted his own Soweto Suite for Strings, written especially for Buskaid. Internationally renowned conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner was also a guest-conductor at a private fundraising concert.
‘Throughout the tour, audiences commented on the extraordinary and inspiring impact of these young South African musicians,’ said Rosemary Nalden, Founder and Director of Buskaid.
‘The relationship between Buskaid and Redefine is unique; a partnership in the true sense of the word that goes beyond just a financial contribution,’ said Konig. Redefine not only contributes to the daily running of Buskaid, it is also helping the Buskaid Trust to attract other corporate donors to ensure the sustainability of the Buskaid Music School. Of the 115 students enrolled at the school, 35 have full or part-time employment as teachers and performers in the Ensemble. Nalden, who was recently awarded the 2015 Art Award from the Turquoise Harmony Institute for her contribution to ‘uplifting South African society’ and ‘breaking down barriers to create diversity’ with music, said: ‘Buskaid gives its young members a brighter future with the opportunity to follow a career in music.’ She said Redefine’s interest in Buskaid goes beyond its support of the school’s music events. ‘Redefine has an ongoing interest in developing a community with young people who will become consumers and take up their place in civil society. The company understands that Buskaid is not just a music school – it has a much broader reach because of its social impact on the community.’
The Buskaid Ensemble performs around the country, with an annual concert at the Linder Auditorium of the University of the Witwatersrand.