THE TONGABEZI MUSIC PROJECT
Tujatane or the Tongabezi Trust School, is a school in Zambia and is built on the same compound as the beautiful Tongabezi lodge, designed and built by William Ruck Keene and Ben Parker. It is in the bush, on the banks of Zambezi river. The school was built by Vanessa Parker and provides education and hope to 140 underprivileged children from the surrounding bush. William Ruck Keene, who tragically died in a car accident when he was in his 30s, was Adelaide's uncle.
The Music Room, built (and photographed) by Rob Carlow, Mr Phiri and Stanford, and their building and thatching teams
"Mr William's Room" was built in October-November 2007. Rob and Adelaide went out to Tujatane school to help develop the music programme there. Adelaide first went out in July 2006, and set up the framework for a music programme to exist, but its development and sustainability depended on a building specifically to store instruments in.
What began as an impossible dream has finally ended up as a reality - and more than a storage cupboard this room is big enough for the whole school to go inside, and watch performances on the built-in stage, and for classes to have their interactive music lessons in. The room houses up to about 50 instruments, of varying sizes and traditions, including yamaha keyboards, home-made marimbas, acoustic guitars, Zambian drums and Zimbabwean thumb pianos.
There is a music department in the school now, including a head music teacher, music co-ordinator, keyboard tutor, and music room supervisor. Everyone is so proud to be involved in something so bright and beautiful. The only challenge now is making sure that the children are getting all the access to the instruments that they can. Adelaide spent many hours devising a music timetable for each class and for each music student, but of course these things have to be constantly modified by Mike Zulu and others to suit inevitable changes to the school timetable. Nevertheless the foundations are more than built, and the stage is now set for the Tujatane children to break through what has so far been a barrier to musical education. Hooray!
With thanks to music project supporters
This project was devised, developed and sponsored by Katherine & John Sutcliffe and by many different Robarts's. Very generous donations from David & Simon Ruck Keene, Jules Hodgkinson, Rose Cavenagh-Mainwairing, Mark Loveday, Felicity Nicol, the Frasers, the J. Paul Getty Jr Charitable Trust and countless others have made the project both viable and sustainable. Thankyou to everybody who has supported Tujatane and its music.
If you would like to support the Music Project
The school director is the energetic and dynamic Vanessa Parker who set up Tujatane in the early 1990s. Having a school band was always her vision and now it's a reality. There are ongoing running costs including teacher's salaries, a scholarship holiday programme for musical kids, and upkeep of the room and all the instruments. If you would like to support the music project, you can go to the school's website where there is information about becoming a donor. If you decide to donate - thankyou! You can state on the donor form that it is intended for the music project to ensure that your money will be earmarked especially for that. And also if you decide to donate, then please let us know so we can thank you personally.
On the website you can find out more about the school and it's latest news, and also you can find out about sponsoring a child at Tujatane School. Click on the photo above to go straight to the school's website.