The Children

Here are a few of the children learning under the Mobile Music Academy in Cape Town.


Meet Bronwill. This 11-year old showed leadership skills and a love for music long before the Mobile Music Academy was formed. He would dance enthusiastically anytime a song was played. When he auditioned for the Academy, his near perfect score was better than children years older than him. His rhythmic skills were unmatched and his ability to pick up any instrument and play showed his great potential.

Although he’s one of the youngest in the Academy, he continues to be one of the top students. He may not understand how great his own skills are, but he loves learning about music. He was the first to learn all the note names on a staff. He loves music from other cultures and time periods, and has chosen the drums and bass guitar as his instruments of choice.

Michaela Coetzee

Meet Michaela. This energetic 13-year old with a beautiful singing voice started smoking when she was age 5. She began using hardcore drugs at age 8. She lives with her mother and doesn’t know her father. In the past few months she watched her mother get raped in her own home and has had her first bath in over a year. Not only do obstacles continue to pound her outside of the Academy, but she struggled in class too.

Part of her understood the importance of a music education, but part of her wanted to be a kid. And in her poor community, it felt as if she had to choose one over the other—drugs and trouble, or music and learning. She chose drugs and went back to them. It took the Academy director and several community leaders to convince her that she was a special girl who had a real chance to break free from the burdens of poverty with her musical abilities. She’s back now and more dedicated than ever.


Meet Winston. He’s the youngest in the Academy and has had the most difficult time understanding music as a subject. His audition was very impressive, but he didn’t know how to read. Far behind most of his peers, he was ashamed and embarrassed that he still couldn’t read. Therefore, he also didn’t take the Academy as seriously as some of the others.

He kept to himself, never asked questions or studied outside of class, and sat there and cried during the first test because he couldn’t read. The Academy never gave up on him though. As the only bright spot in his life, they knew that if reading was his only obstacle, they could help him. He’s incredibly gifted with a pair of drum sticks. Over the past 6 months he’s started talking in full sentences and he’s beginning to read from his theory book for the first time in his life.


Meet Basil. This incredibly talented 14-year old is the leader of the Academy. Without any sort of vocal training, he showed singing abilities equivalent to someone years older who’s had formal lessons. Whenever he opens his mouth to sing, a hush falls over any nearby audience. Local artists have been introduced to Basil through the Academy and have vowed to help fulfill his dreams: to record his own CD and have a singing career.

Unfortunately, Basil is stuck in the cycle of poverty similar to his peers. He hasn’t delved into drugs, sex or crime, but he understands the world to which he’s been destined. Realizing that aggression is the only way to stand up for himself, he channels his frustration into anger. Ever since joining the Academy though, he has used songwriting to channel that anger and give him inspiration despite the hell surrounding him.

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