Growth and Achievements


2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
No. of students 12 12 19 23 29 35 61 103 106+
Highest exams passed Pre Grd 1 Grd 1 Grd 2 Grd 3 Grd 5 Grd 6 Grd 7-8
Number of exams entered / passed 7/7 15/15 23/23 42/42 53/53 40/41 60 (est)
Number of teachers 1 3 4 3 7 11 11 10 8
Number of student teachers 7 8

Achievements of 2013

In 2013, Keiskamma Music Academy successfully replicated its programme to Tuwa Primary School in Bell and student teachers began teaching at Zanethemba Primary School in Lover’s Twist as part of the Enke: Make Your Make leadership training programme.

One of our firsts in 2013, was cousins Lihle and Nqophisa Mtshonisi passing matric at St Charles Sojola High School. Lihle and Nqophisa, who are founder students are now studying towards a BCom and BSc respectively. We are so proud of them. They credit the Music Academy with the discipline and confidence which it has taught them. They will continue playing beautiful music on flute and recorder.

Principal oboist of the NDR Symphony Orchestra in Germany, Paulus van der Merwe visited Hamburg South Africa again to continue the relationships he has established with our ensembles and to provide intense solo coaching for several senior students.

A master class with Stefan Temmingh, a top South African recorder player with a large international career, was arranged in February. 14 senior students attended, whilst a few performed in the class. We were also able to film the classes so that all our students could share the benefit of this visit in workshops later. Their aspirations and their motivation were certainly given a boost by this exposure to an eminent recorder player.

Keiskamma Carnival was performed on 5 and 6 July 2013 at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. The cast also took part in the NAF Parade on the last day of festival.  The production was created and directed by Kyla Davis and conducted by Anthony Drake.


The initial concept was by Helen Vosloo. The text was drawn up by Jen Hoyer and Hannah Gelderman. The latest Keiskamma book was launched at the NAF. A Carnavalesque Collection will soon go into its first reprint. The book tells traditional Xhosa stories about animals as well as a fun Elephant stew recipe amongst others. Photos of the wire and fabric puppets of the production are reproduced in the book.  

The interdisciplinary production, lead to the formation of the Keiskamma Drama group, an 11 person group of youths who worked incredibly hard under Kyla Davis’ direction prior to the premiere. We are excited by our growth and the added dimension to our work. Touring the production, will offer employment to these young actors who otherwise would have very limited options. The work by Saint-Saens is prescribed for senior phase primary school. We hope that we shall be able to partner with Department of Basic Education so as be able to perform this proud heritage production at schools.


79% of our students achieved merits and distinctions in practical examinations, and Wonke Mapuma achieved 90% for his grade 2 clarinet exam after less than a year of lessons.  Wonke will be included in the UNISA Roll of Honour of outstanding achievers nationally.  Other UNISA Roll of Honour students include Thabo Ngoxo and Lukhanyiso Cuka who scored 100% and 97% in UNISA grade 3 music theory respectively.  These are outstanding scores which make Keiskamma Music Academy very proud.

Anthony Drake, a professional clarinettist who has performed with the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra joined the Keiskamma Music Academy team as Manager and American recorder virtuoso, Laura Osterlund joined the team as a volunteer to assist as well as provide invaluable skills as a specialist recorder teacher.

Keiskamma Music Academy will soon be moving into custom made buildings through funding of National Treasury and NLDTF. 

The structure will belong to Ngqushwa municipality, with a long term lease planned between the Trust and municipality.

Achievements of 2012

In 2012, our production Children Playing (under direction of Jen Hoyer) at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival was followed with a series of performances in the Eastern Cape for the French Season in South Africa 2012. We were also excited to see two of our students receive scholarships because of their musical achievements to attend Victoria Girls High School in Grahamstown. Flute student Lihle Mtshonisi was invited to tour Zimbabwe with the Kingswood College band by his teacher Stephen Holder, head of music at Kingswood College.

A short film about Keiskamma Music Academy by Cape Town’s Plexus Films was featured on Euronews, bringing our music to a worldwide audience. Keiskamma Music Academy was a finalist with Alusani Trading in the BASA Awards small business category. We hosted our first Eisteddfod with the National Eisteddfod Academy; over eighty student entries received numerous Gold and Diploma awards.

Fifteen children in the neighbouring village of Bodiam were able to start music lessons through our first expansion project, and Hamburg students received supplementary academic assistance on Maths and English. (Through education partnerships we are hoping to increase this support in 2013, as local schools are ill-equipped to offer inspiring, quality tuition.)

The year wrapped up with an exciting collaboration with the Opera for Change pilot project, which looks ahead to further musical collaboration in 2014 (

In addition, Keiskamma Music Academy was proud recipient of a 2012 Standard Bank Ovation Award at Grahamstown National Arts Festival for excellence in music education.

We were so pleased to welcome Paulus Van Der Merwe, top international oboist, to Hamburg once again. Paulus attended two separate workshops and inspired the students with his teaching, conducting, presenting his wonderful collection of instruments from around the world, and most of all, by his warm, gentle and encouraging presence.

The Music Academy was also honoured to have a visit by John Coulter, harpsichordist and music teacher, who rehearsed the students for their practical exams and accompanied them.

Jen Hoyer continued to work with the Music Academy, as Music Director. Her warm and empathetic relationship with the students, her understanding of recorder music and her rigorous & professional organisational skills continued to grow the programme. Brenda Fishwick continued to assist; her primary education expertise being a great bonus for the younger students, and her experience of working with parents and partners proving invaluable.

Achievements of 2011

awardIn 2011 the Keiskamma Ensemble toured to Cape Town and Stellenbosch where twelve advanced students performed as soloists with Camerata Tinta Barocca. This was followed by a Christmas tour of the Garden Route with performances at exclusive resorts and game parks. In addition Keiskamma Music Academy together with Keiskamma Art Project were the proud recipient of a BASA Chairman’s Premier Award, ‘in recognition of sustained and extraordinary commitment to the arts in South Africa’.


Achievements of 2010

songbook2010 marked Keiskamma Music Academy’s first appearance at Grahamstown National Arts Festival for three performances of Keiskamma Songbook, followed by a performance at WITS Great Hall in Johannesburg with the Guernica Tapestry of the Keiskamma Art Project.

Highlights of 2009:

Silver & Gold certificates received at the East London Eisteddfod May 2009

“Baroque & Blue” concert tour in Port Alfred & Grahamstown July 2009

Marimbas & Djembes purchased to broaden scope of music

15 students played Trinity college of Music Examinations in November – 10 distinctions, 2 merits (best marks achieved by any school in East London)

Highlights of 2008:

Students took part in East London Eisteddfod in May and won 3 silver certificates

7 students played Trinity College of Music Initial Recorder exam – 6 merit , 1 distinction

4 students travelled to Johannesburg & Pretoria for 3 benefit concerts in November, playing with Italian harpist Claudia Antonelli

Music Academy are granted 2 rooms at St Charles Sojola High School as a venue

Highlights of 2007:

Music students perform at the unveiling of the Kesikamma Creation altarpiece at Grahamstown Cathedral during National Arts Festival

14 students begin weekly recorder lessons in East London

Highlights of 2006:

Keiskamma Music Academy launched in august. 3 initial workshops involved 12 children and 5 teachers

We measure our success not only in terms of exams passed, gold certificates at Eisteddfod, or standing ovations at concerts. Our success is also measured in so many other ways; the personal growth of our students, their ability to express themselves and articulate choices, in harnessing discipline and appreciating the joy of music-making.

Music has to be recognized as an agent of social development in the highest sense, because it transmits the highest values – solidarity, harmony, mutual compassion. And it has the ability to unite an entire community.

José Antonio Abreu, Founder, El Sistema Music Outreach Project, Venezuela