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Sunday, August 7, 2022


(Right: Bongani Tembe, Mzansi board member and Artistic Director and CEO of the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra)

The following is a press release from the Eastern Cape Philharmonic Orchestra:

Recently, the boards of the newly-launched Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra (Mzansi NPO) and the Eastern Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, held a very productive meeting and resolved to work together for the advancement of music in the Eastern Cape.

Speaking on behalf of the ECPO, Professor Erik Albertyn, said “The board of the Eastern Cape Philharmonic Orchestra share the ideals, vision and mission of Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra, and appreciate this entity as an important national asset.”  

Professor Albertyn added “We are delighted that 75% of the budget of Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra will be utilised for artistic programmes and also benefit regional orchestras in a significant way and will have a positive impact throughout South Africa.”

Professor Muxe Nkondo, speaking on behalf of the board of Mzansi NPO, said “Mzansi NPO is committed to working with regional orchestras and other institutions on various levels, but most importantly, to implement the national development programmes in order to help transform the orchestral sector.”

Prof Nkondo emphasised: “There will be no duplication in the programmes of Mzansi NPO, instead, the commitment is to introduce orchestral programmes where they do not exist, and help enhance them in provinces where there is already a strong orchestral presence.”

Top young South African violinist, David Bester, a senior lecturer of music at Nelson Mandela University and the Concert Master of the Eastern Cape Philharmonic, said; “The prospect of more opportunities and, importantly, resources made available to artists and regional orchestras through the Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra in a way that would improve the stability and long-term viability of these organisations, is one that is welcomed.”

Artistic Director and CEO of the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra, Bongani Tembe, speaking on behalf of the management of Mzansi NPO, said: “The joint meeting between Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra and the Eastern Cape Philharmonic Orchestra was held in a transparent and consultative manner. Going forward, the orchestras will now develop an MOU which will regulate and coordinate their relationship.”

Finally, both Orchestras thanked the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture for making a significant investment that will contribute to the growth and sustainability of the orchestral sector throughout South Africa.


About the Mzansi NPO

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 which is comprised of leading South Africans with high integrity.

These include Justice Leona Theron of the Constitutional Court (Chairperson); Ms Wendy Luhabe – a leading businesswoman and corporate leader; Professor Muxe Nkondo – a highly accomplished academic, who taught among many universities, at Harvard University in the US; and Bongani Tembe – an internationally respected arts leader and musician who studied at the prestigious Juilliard School in New York.

Mzansi NPO was launched by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC) on 14 July 2022 in Johannesburg. The Orchestra made its debut on 27 July 2022 in a stunning production by William Kentridge Oh to believe in another world, playing Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10 with US conductor Joseph Young. This occasion celebrated Wits’ 100th anniversary and the orchestra was drawn from seven provinces around South Africa, and was dubbed South Africa’s rainbow nation orchestra. This was followed the next day by a moving educational concert, conducted by Kutlwano Masote, at the Albertina Sisulu School and Centre for psychically-challenged learners in Soweto.

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.