After seeing the Buskaid Soweto String Ensemble a few days ago on their UK Tour in London, my belief in education is reinforced. It might sound as a very naive statement, but whoever, whatever says, I still do believe that education has the power to change the world.
When I say that education is important, I do not refer solely to postgraduate education not even undergraduate courses, although nowadays vocational education is looked down many times. That is such a shame, partly because a vocational course teaches you things that a university degree will never do. I have first hand experiences from both sides so I can clearly judge how a vocational course can develop skills. I still joke with my friends who only have university degrees that I do have a proper profession whilst they are just theorists.
What I would like to emphasize now is the importance of developing basic skills, let’s call them life skills, that are necessary to survive wherever you live. If you have this, then from there the sky is the limit. Of course, some extrinsic help might come handy for all of us but it is especially important for less privileged children and communities. If you don’t mind I don’t use the words developed and developing countries. I don’t believe that it is so straightforward to decide what is developed and what is not. It becomes more and more difficult nowadays, considering at how many levels Western societies failed – even though we prefer to believe we are in a very developed state of existence.
One beautiful example of the changes education can bring to communities and individuals is the work done by Buskaid. As they state, their vision is ‘that all township children will be given the opportunity to channel their creative energies and talents through learning and playing classical music to the highest international standards’. Their mission is ‘to give children from impoverished backgrounds in the townships of South Africa the opportunity to learn classical stringed instruments to the highest possible standards’.
Their story is fascinating so was their concert. By the end of the show the audience has gone mad. The students of the Buskaid Music School all played beautifully. Some of them might have lacked the confidence that more experienced professional musicians possess but it was a special treat – sometimes enthusiasm, youthful purity and genuine love for what you do is worth more than anything.
As the school’s work is made possible with the help of generous sponsors, please visit their site and if you like what you read there, donate. You know, every little helps.