Cape Town - The Cape Flats Wellness Centre’s (CFWC) Strummin’ & Hummin’ Guitar group, which offers free guitar lessons to Ocean View’s children, aims to uplift its youth through musical literacy.
The founder and director of the CFWC, Aslam Richards, said that after five years of doing voluntary and community work in Ocean View he decided to establish the centre to address its social issues.
“This NPO was founded in 2020 when a lot of people in our community were really struggling. Our organisation covers a number of projects, namely community feeding schemes and art projects for children aged four to 10.”
The CFWC also organises sightseeing excursions, technical skills workshops and addiction recovery programmes, which are aimed at inspiring and empowering the community’s youth.
“We are here to hold the hand of each child through their life and give them guidance and support in academics and employment seeking. A lot of these kids do not have mentors and just need guidance in achieving their goals.”
Richards, Nishaat Moses and Jenny Chadwick, who are the directors of the CFWC, launched the Strummin’ & Hummin’ Guitar group last year. Led by Chadwick, the initiative offers free guitar lessons to children from as young as five into adolescence.
“The Strummin’ & Hummin’ Guitar group is directed by myself, Nishaat Moses and Di Smyly and is part of the Cape Flats Wellness Centre programme. Di and myself are the main teachers and Nishaat assists with teaching when needed and is also learning the guitar. Nishaat organises the space, designs our posters and the award certificates for students.”
Chadwick said that learning music literacy and skill offers the opportunity for children to relax while promoting brain development, discipline and a sense of reward and achievement.
She also chairs Recovery Walk Cape Town, which holds an annual event where recovery from alcoholism, addictions and mental illnesses are celebrated in September during International Recovery month.
Deidre Krieger is an employee at the Busy Bee preschool, where the guitar lessons are held, and is also one of many parents who is appreciative of the Strummin’ & Hummin’ Guitar group for the confidence it has instilled in Ocean View’s children.
“I was immediately intrigued by their proposition as this would help the school with much-needed maintenance. But more important was the opportunity it presented for children in the neighbourhood. They would have something constructive to do other than play in the street and get up to mischief or be drawn to the wrong crowd.
“This project was very exciting for my daughter Saskia as she had the opportunity to learn to play the guitar because she loves music and singing. She was so excited and it helped her to build the confidence she needed.”
Richards recently announced that he would be one of the councillor candidates running in ward 61 Ocean View in the upcoming local elections. Having grown up in Ocean View and overcome a cycle of substance abuse and hopelessness, Richards said he believed he was best equipped to lead the community into prosperity.