Activities at Izivunguvungu – MSC Foundation for Youth, The project teaches life skills through the medium of sail training, boat building and music. The School also has a focus on education based on the environment, health and literacy. The children do not only learn to sail; the array of activities they are exposed to and the mentorship they receive are invaluable to creating adults for the future of South Africa.
There is a Sailing Academy, which provides: General sailing skills; Competitive sailing skills (Keel boat and dinghy Sailing, boat maintenance and teamwork skills on the L26 keel boat and Mirror Class dinghy); Boat building and repair skills development; Navigation classes; etc. Kader Williams and his assistants keep these classes lively and interesting with examples from their own experiences (Kader had to navigate himself and his crew out of trouble in a recent Cape to Rio race!.)
A Music Academy, involves teaching musical instruments, drumming, singing etc. and performing concerts, workshops etc. The main performing group usually consists of about 40 musicians although upwards of 70 have marched in the annual Navy Parade through Simon’s Town. Another group of about 15 young musicians from the Saldanha music project are also thriving.
All students learn to read music and senior students are utilised to pass on skills to younger members. Student Teachers assist Cdr Oldham with classroom work, introducing some of the hundreds of Grade 3 and 4 pupils to the opportunities available at Izivunguvungu. Their elementary music skills can involve singing, rhythm exercises, reading simple notation, basics of how to produce sound on a musical instrument etc. The foundation is laid at this level for entry to the bands, singing groups etc.
Prizes were awarded in recent years for the most promising students and were kindly donated by a great friend of the music project, Wim Kosterman from the Nertherlands. Wim greatly assisted in the early days of the Izivunguvungu Youth Band by donating a full set of brass musical instruments via ‘De Driewerf’ a generous gift which benefits the students even today, despite the gradual wearing out of this much utilised equipment.
Sailing Courses are run in the afternoon after school. Once the children can swim, they are taught how to helm and crew on dinghies. The talented children progress to higher levels and learn how to race, serve on rescue duty, run racing. The most advanced children become instructors and responsible for the tuition of the beginners, thus allowing a higher turnout of students exposed to sailing. Teams are selected to compete in various provincial and national keel boat and dinghy regattas.