Thursday 14th July marked an important milestone in the journey of the Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra (Mzansi NPO) in South Africa.
The strategy and implementation plan for establishing the Mzansi NPO recognises the unique opportunity that this Orchestra presents for the transformation of the orchestral music sector in South Africa.
This is underpinned by the development of young South African orchestral talent, the creation and preservation of music which reflects South African heritage and the broadening of the experience of classical music by the diverse population in our country.
Such a national orchestra, much like a national sports team, cannot exist in isolation. In order to be sustainable, the Mzansi NPO needs to be central to a national talent recruiting, refining and retaining system; the highest level of a multi-tiered developmental process for young South Africans, of which the regional orchestras remain a critical element.
Speaking on behalf of the Mzansi NPO board of directors, Prof Muxe Nkondo, said, “We are grateful to be able to report to the Minister, the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, and the public, on the positive progress of Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra. The Orchestra is now fully constituted and embraces our responsibility to play a significant role in the cultural life of South Africa’s vibrant and diverse communities, thus contributing to a socially cohesive society with a common national identity”.
Mzansi NPO seeks to create an impact through the use of music as a medium facilitator for building inclusivity, social cohesion, and social dialogue. This will be achieved by:
- Providing enrichment and community engagement programmes
- Promoting the development of orchestral music and other genres of music, particularly indigenous music
- Finding, mentoring, training and supporting young and talented musicians
- Promoting the teaching, knowledge and appreciation of music
- Encouraging composers of music and promoting music which reflects South Africa’s heritage
- Supporting the national brand around the world by presenting events which increase the global profile of South Africa and its talent
- Contributing to tourism and the growth of the creative economy
Responding on behalf of the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, the Director General, Vusumuzi Mkhize, stated, “We congratulate Mzansi NPO – South Africa’s first national orchestra in the democratic era – for taking up the challenge of establishing an orchestra of national significance which as a result, brings to life stipulation which is contained in the Revised White Paper on Arts, Culture and Heritage. Approved by Cabinet, 2018 and endorsed by Parliament in 2020”.
Mr Mkhize added, “We will walk this journey with you in your quest to promote freedom of expression, maintain a sense of cultural identity, nurture creativity and stimulate artistic innovation that also contributes to growth in the creative sector”.
In closing and speaking on behalf of the management of Mzansi NPO, Bongani Tembe, said, “Mzansi NPO appreciates the value and benefits of integrating music into the learning experience of our young people and will work with other orchestras and partners to achieve this objective. Further, Mzansi NPO will be utilised as an effective tool to brand South Africa positively on the international stage”.
About Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra
Registered as a Not- for-Profit Company (NPC) in terms of Section 10 and Schedule 1 of the Companies Act (No. 71 of 2008, as amended), the Mzansi NPO has also been granted the status of a Public Benefit Organisation (PBO) in terms of Section 30 of the Income Tax Act (No. 58 of 1962, as amended). As an NPC, the Mzansi NPO operates under the supervision of a Board of Directors comprised of leading South Africans with high integrity.
Prior to its launch, Mzansi NPO conducted benchmarking on international models, including the French and Hungarian national orchestras, some audience engagement programmes employed by the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, various studies and reports available through the American Symphony Orchestra League, and an examination of Venezuela’s “El Sistema” classical music instruction programme, and its offshoot initiatives, “Sistema Scotland” and Sistema Kenya.
The mission of the Mzansi NPO is to contribute meaningfully to the improvement of the quality of life of all communities in South Africa by embracing its responsibility to play a significant role in the cultural life of South Africa’s vibrant and diverse communities; creating platforms within communities for the advancement of the experience of orchestral music, including targeting regions that don’t have their own regional orchestras; inspiring young people to discover their full potential through creativity and innovation; creating world-class orchestral music experiences and touring events nationally and internationally.