Instrumental Cape Philharmonic board chairperson who championed youth development Ronnie Samaai has decided to step down.
Instrumental Cape Philharmonic board chairperson who championed youth development Ronnie Samaai has decided to step down.

Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra ‘force’ Ronnie Samaai bows out

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Jul 1, 2020

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Cape Town - After 20 years on the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) board as chairperson of the Youth Development Committee overseeing the orchestra’s vast development and skills transfer projects, well-known music teacher Ronnie Samaai has decided to step down.

The CPO immediately bestowed on him the Order of the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, a special award given to those who have made a huge impact on the orchestra. This is only the fourth time it has been presented.

For Louis Heyneman, chief executive of the CPO, Samaai was a force behind the youth education and development projects.

“In working closely with board member Felicia Lesch and our project team of Marvin Weavers, Odlie Burden and Ash-lee Louwskieter and teachers in Masidlale and the CP Music Academy, Ronnie has played an indelible role in quality transformation. His commitment to youth stemming from the pre-1990s has made him one of the most honoured and honourable music educators in the country.”

CPO board chairperson Derek Auret said Samaai had been “a pillar of strength to the organisation and a sterling trooper. Your contribution in elevating the CPO to the position in which it finds itself nationally and internationally, especially though your commitment to advancing the youth, has been immense. For that we salute you and we honour you.

"You will be missed, but you leave with the satisfying knowledge that your work at the CPO remains as testimony to a job well done and to a great and grand achievement.”

Samaai, who turns 84 soon, said: “It has been a privilege to work with such illustrious business associates, lawyers, teachers and journalists and be given the platform to voice my opinion.

“These are unprecedented times and I look forward to watching as the CPO rides the storm and goes on to be bigger, stronger and even more successful. I am proud to have been part of the changes.”

Samaai has been a music educator his entire professional life, and was awarded licentiates from, for instance, the Royal Schools of Music and Trinity College, London, followed by becoming a Fellow of Trinity College.

He gained a BMus from Unisa and studied further at Trinity College, a turning point which made him dedicate his life to giving South Africa’s young children a start in music.

He taught for nearly 40 years, retiring in 1996 as vice-rector of the Bellville College of Education, and has been involved in projects such as the Western Cape Music Education Project in Kuils River.

Cape Argus

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