Miracles through music

Friday, 6 December, 2019
WOSA Blog, Julia Moore
In the quiet little village of Napier in the Overberg Valley of the Southern Cape, some young people are making a big and joyful noise.

This rural settlement, like most others in South Africa, suffers from the fallout of 350 years of colonialism: juvenile crime, teenage pregnancies, and unemployment; as well as alcohol abuse and drug addiction. Children are largely left to their own devices, so absenteeism from school is high, and therefore education levels are low: a vicious cycle.

Enter Bruce Jack, son of the late Elspeth Jack, a lover of music and a believer in its restorative powers. She was a hugely respected and much loved music teacher and taught for many years at UCT and UWC. She was also an acclaimed performer and music critic for The Cape Times for 14 years. 

Elspeth moved with Bruce and his family to The Drift Wine Estate in Napier 20 years ago, where she continued giving private music lessons. Her keen interest in the local community and her desire to stimulate social upliftment left an indelible mark on her son, who continues her work through the Headstart Trust, established in her memory to provide and promote education and outreach programmes for educational enrichment, academic support and supplementary tuition to poor and needy children.
“We have big dreams,” states Jack, “we want to change the world. We cannot fix it overnight but if we begin with something like music, which is naturally in all of us, we can start to uplift broken communities by creating a fabric of healing.” 

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