Music keeping kids off the streets

18 November 2021 | Social Issues

Windhoek • [email protected]

During the first lockdown last year, the Amazing Grace Brass Band was established in Katutura to keep children who could not go to school, off the streets. Today, 15 children are part of the orchestra that regularly performs.
The orchestra was founded by Alwina Haman who also tutors the children. “We started the orchestra with four members and three old instruments that my mother and I had bought years before. All of them are children from the area and are between 14 and 25 years old.”
Alwina learned to play the trumpet with the Reform Brass Band.
Michael Haman Snr was approached by a man who had to give a presentation in Germany and came knocking for help. “He had a copy of Hendrik Witbooi's Bible in Nama. He asked if I could rewrite some of it. I did that and also translated it for him. It is thanks to this man and the German embassy that we received nine instruments,” he said.
“The orchestra helped the children tremendously through the impossible times of Covid-19. It was a very difficult and uncertain time for many children and the music helped them to work through it,” he added.
Elzaan Cloete (18) plays the trumpet. “It had an appealing sound when I heard the others play and I became interested in it. I really enjoy playing it.”
Michael Haman (15) also plays the trumpet. He says he wanted to keep busy and not lay about on the streets. “I was so surprised when we first performed, because there were so many people in front of us!”
Both Hendrik Jager (14) and Eljer Fredericks (17) also joined the orchestra to stay off the streets. “I was scared with our first performances. I was afraid I would make a mistake at the funeral or wedding where we performed, and what would people think of me then? In the meantime, we have practiced a lot more and we know what we are doing,” Eljer said.
The orchestra performs at various occasions and can be booked on 081 603 3665.
“I always tell the members, we are not the chickens we keep at home. We are eagles that will fly high and go far with the group,” Alwina said.