At the height of Xenophobic attacks, the acclaimed French Alma Chamber Orchestra came to South Africa to showcase the power of music in affirming universal humanitarian values. Led by Concertmaster and Artistic Director, Anne Gravoin, with Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire, the fifty-eight-member Orchestra also partnered with the KZN Orchestra to play in Umlazi, a township plagued by xenophobic violence. There was also a special performance with Buskaid’s formidable Soweto String Ensemble. The international visitors got to exchange musical notes with 11-year old violinist Pendo Masote, the gifted descendant of Michael Masote, one of South Africa’s most celebrated classical musical conductors. This world class gathering of cultural events showcases the power of music in orchestrating cultural diversity and harmony.


Buskaid is a thriving Academy of String Teaching and Performance, situated in the heart of the South African Township of Soweto. The Academy addresses the creative needs of children in its community who have very little access to cultural activities either at or after school, offering them a nurturing environment in which to acquire a musical skill. Buskaid is living proof that music has a deep and lasting impact on children’s general educational development and the achieving of excellence. Its flagship Ensemble, has gained international recognition over the past 20 years and was voted one of the world’s most inspirational orchestras by the UK’s Gramophone magazine.