Keeping kids off streets

2019-11-26 06:00
Shiloh Harrison leads the New Horizons cadets in their parade.

Shiloh Harrison leads the New Horizons cadets in their parade. (Racine Edwardes)

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In a show of support for the community-led marching bands, the City of Cape Town hosted an open day for the youth to display their talents.

The showcase of teamwork and discipline took place at the Grassy Park Sports and Recreation Centre, where residents came from as far as Seawinds to support the children of the Hillview Drumline and the New Horizons marching band. 

Gerry Gordon, councillor for ward 67, said initiatives such as these are much needed in communities where residents experience many social-ills which have an impact on the youth. “It takes our kids off the street, it gives them a different direction and also it lends itself to the mindset, ‘I should stay in school’ because they can’t participate if they’re not in school,” said Gordon.

Roy Prinsloo, a teacher at Fairmount High School, launched the school’s marching band more than five years ago after being inspired by a television show. 

He launched the award-winning New Horizons marching band.

“We’ve introduced marching into about 20 schools, and our project is called Marching for Transformation. It’s much more than marching. It’s academic tracking and behaviour changes. We emphasise discipline and that transcends into the class and at home. If the teachers are experiencing behavioural problems in class, they need to tell us so we can suspend and work on the learner. It’s a holistic approach.”

Astrid Abrahams, a community worker and drumline coach, explained that Hillview Drumline began with children “beating on tins” and now they are role models in the community. 

“The boys were running around and they had nothing to do. We began the drumline at the beginning of this year and I can see the change in the children and the respect they gained for each other. In Hillview, one or two people get killed every week and I didn’t want the children to get involved in that,” she said.

The cadets and the drumline showcased their skills to parents and the Mayco member for urban management, Grant Twigg. Visibly impressed, he said he could confidently support the initiative in the future.

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