Who We Help

The UMKULO Project hopes to provide resources to music educators across the entire continent of Africa. However, we can’t start with an entire continent, region or even country. We can’t even provide resources for an entire city quite yet. We’re starting small with a single academy nestled in the mountains of Cape Town, South Africa.

The Mobile Music Academy was launched in July of 2008 with the support and backing of a local radio station, CCFm. Chris Dorsey (creator of The UMKULO Project) helped turn the ideas of such an academy into reality by listening to musicians and local leaders, assessing what was most needed, and molding all of those needs into the best possible format for an academy. Students are currently learning Music Theory and applying it to their first instruments: recorders. They’re also learning Music Appreciation: music from other cultures and time periods.

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The Mobile Music Academy‘s is set up to be able to reach every poor community in the entire metropolis of Cape Town. It’s very difficult for the poor to travel, so music has to be brought to them. This shows the children and other residents that hope and inspiration can come from within the hellish environment of a crime, drug, and disease-burdened community.

The academy also has the mobility to take the kids out of these difficult areas to music events all over the city, from the world-renowned Cape Town Jazz Festival, to radio stations, recording studios, symphonies and rock concerts. The students are not only getting the same music education as the privileged, but they are getting to experience the entire spectrum of possibilities under the umbrella of music.

The Mobile Music Academy may be best for a major city like Cape Town, but that format would be rather difficult for a remote village. So, we realized we needed to equip the educators on the ground who best knew their own conditions and needs. We’d be more than happy to brainstorm ideas for other regions in Africa to begin their own music education system, but we have this crazy idea that Africans know Africa better than we do! So, instead of trying to set up music academies all over the continent, it would be much more helpful to provide the biggest need: resources.

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