News Archive
Sep 19, 2013 - Music for Peace: Supporting the African Youth Ensemble
African Youth Ensemble founder Kolwane Mantu uses music education to transform young lives
Throughout history, music has proven to be a powerful force in bringing people together, uplifting lives, and inspiring learners to become focused and disciplined. Peace Boat is pleased to announce therefore, that it is collecting musical instruments and carrying out fundraising activities to support the African Youth Ensemble of South Africa during Peace Boat's 81st Global Voyage in 2013.

The African Youth Ensemble (AYE) grew out of the violent riots in the township of Soweto in 1976. After students in Soweto began to protest against additional rigid apartheid policies, police and the military forces fired upon them and government schools were closed for two years. Young people were idling in the streets, and in the midst of a sense of the nation falling apart, music lover Kolwane Mantu began teaching children how to play the violin in his mother's kitchen. When the room became too small for his growing number of students, they continued to rehearse in a public toilet, keeping their music a secret during the apartheid years. Not until after the election of President Nelson Mandela in 1994 was the orchestra "discovered," and in 2000 Mr. Mantu launched the African Youth Ensemble.

In 1976, Kolwane Mantu started to teach four children in his mother's kitchen; today he has 148 students who are regularly invited to play in big concert halls
Today, Kolwane Mantu credits Peace Boat with helping AYE to achieve lasting power. Peace Boat has been affiliated with his music education programs since 1999, and Peace Boat participants have regularly visited Soweto and delivered string instruments to AYE that were collected in Japan through the United People's Alliance (UPA) program. Although South Africa is no longer under the apartheid system, unemployment rates for African youth are extremely high today, and AYE continues to play an important role in providing hope, skills and encouragement to youth at a critical time in their lives.

Currently, Peace Boat is collecting the following instruments at its Tokyo office to support AYE's music education program: violins, violas, contrabass, any brass or woodwind orchestral instruments, strings,bows and instrument cases,and metronomes. The instruments can be new or used, but should be in working condition if used. To donate a musical instrument or related items, please contact pbglobal@peaceboat.gr.jp. Donations of instruments will be accepted until October 25, 2013.

Peace Boat aims to give South African youth a chance to directly experience Japanese culture
Peace Boat is also collecting funds to give four young AYE musicians the opportunity to sail with the ship during the Singapore to Durban segment of the 81st Voyage in 2013 The objectives of this project include:

* To provide AYE members a platform to showcase their skills at an international scale.
* To explore how music can be used as tool for peace and development.
* To increase awareness about the challenges and hopes of young people in South Africa today.
* To create opportunities for young musicians to interact with guest educators and artists from Japan.

Donations to this project will be accepted until November 1, 2013. Donations of any size are greatly appreciated, and 100 percent of the donations will be used to cover the expenses of the AYE youth, including their international and domestic flights and lodging. Please contact pbglobal(a)peaceboat.gr.jp for further details.

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