Oswald Moses, Rudi Jacobs, Justin Jantjies, Abdul Baasit and Keagan Adams have been capturing the hearts of workers in Cape Town as they go around the city centre playing various songs during lunchtime.
The five men, aged between 20 and 26, say while they live in one of the most gang-infested streets in Manenberg they have no desire to be skollies and instead want to work and spread hope in their community.
The band, who call themselves the Street Kings, met five years ago when they joined a minstrel group known as the Bright Stars.
“It was at a klopse group where we all learnt to play. I play the trumpet and the rest of them play the trombone. Ons blaas ’n lank tydjie saam. Ons is baie lief vir musiek,” says Rudi, 26.
Four of the five men have young children and say they are unemployed and have no tertiary education, and make between R100 and R150 each time they play.
The money is used to cover their taxi fares to the CBD and to ensure their families have something to eat each day.
Abdul, 21, says: “It is difficult for us, some of us never finished school. Daar is nie werk vir ons nie, so ons gebruik ons talente om geld in te samel.”
Justin, also 21, explains their worn instruments were passed down to them as donations from Manenberg residents, with one trombone being over 30 years old.
“The equipment is old and in a bad shape. We do our best to make sure that the music is still right. Our dream is to find a way to get formal training so we can play better,” he says.
“The people enjoy it now, but we can do so much better. None of us here have ever been to a proper music class and we cannot read music, but we really want to learn so one day we can have our own proper brass band.”
Brent Jensel, 23, from Belhar says he was attending training in St. Georges Mall when he heard the music.
“I was inside the building and I am familiar with brass bands because my brother played in one. I really enjoy their music and they are very good. They do the best with that broken equipment and don’t let where they come from keep them back.”
The group, however, doesn’t have a busking permit. They cannot afford one and so they often get moved away from various spots.
If you would like to assist the young men in any way, please call 082 515 1668.