SPECIAL PROJECTS: Youth reporters attend historic Minnesota Orchestra tour | Children's Radio Foundation

We use radio to amplify youth voices across Africa, giving them the skills and tools to speak about their lives

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“We had so much fun and interviewed a lot of people, that our tiny brains could not even contain the amount of inspiration we were exposed to!” This is what youth reporter Kananelo from Aganang FM shared after attending the performance of the Minnesota Orchestra in Johannesburg recently.

The Minnesota Orchestra’s historical tour to South Africa was the first time a professional U.S. orchestra has ever toured to the country. A few youth reporters from our South Africa projects had the opportunity to attend performances in Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria, Soweto and Johannesburg. For many this was a first time to attend such a large-scale concert performance, with 250 performers on tour, including the orchestra and choir. The tour drew together diverse performers and music styles, all in connection with a worldwide celebration of the late South African leader Nelson Mandela, on the centenary of his birth.

Skhathesihle from Vibe FM in Durban had this to say: “When our facilitator told me that we were going to an orchestra show, I decided to find out what it is all about. What I found when we got to the Durban City Hall was amazing and awesome. We were welcomed by the amazing instruments playing, and we saw a lot of white people. I thought it was music that was mostly liked by white people, but to my surprise, even young people were there, and they seemed to enjoy the show as much as I did as well.”

The youth reporters from all cities met and interviewed musicians, singers and other performers, and felt very inspired by who they spoke to. In Cape Town the COSAT youth reporters interviewed the orchestra conductor Osmo Vänskä after the show, and the youth met some of the performers. 

Orchestra conductor Osmo Vänskä meets the COSAT youth from Khayelitsha at the Cape Town City Hall

Here is some more feedback from youth who attended the concerts: “The orchestra was amazing. It was an experience of a lifetime for me and the youth reporters. Before Sunday, I always thought I could never enjoy that type of sound, but when we got there, my mindset quickly changed. Now I am a super fan. The way they played their instruments just made me melt and fall in love in a split second. I can’t wait to go to another orchestra show!” – Siphokazi, Vibe FM, Durban.

“The Minnesota Orchestra was a wonderful experience. The music was amazing and at most relaxing. I liked how they worked alongside the Gauteng Chorals to incorporate some of the african songs such as Shosholoza and Bawo Thixo” – Hope Seboko, Alex FM

“It was the best day of my life… I also got an opportunity to interview the great mama Yvonne Chaka-chaka which was a great honour for me. I got to learn so much about the music and how it can have an impact on this generation in a positive way. Thank you to the Children’s Radio Foundation” – Kananelo, Aganang FM, Potchefstroom.

Neo Dithloiso (age 20) from Alex FM said, “I really enjoyed the orchestra because it was a first time experience. Seeing a lot of the youth at the event made me realise that classical music isn’t for old people.”

And if you want to hear from the youth reporters, here is an audio report from some of the ‘Optimistic Young Reporters’ from COSAT High School from Khayelitsha, Cape Town.

Mande from Mams FM interviews an orchestra player

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