US Organisations & Freshly Ground’s Zolani help Gardens Commercial HS “take it to the bridge”
13 December 2022
In July of this year, Gardens Commercial High School in Cape Town’s CBD, partnered with the David Z Foundation and Global Lighthouse Studio (both USA based organisations) to write a song for international advocacy of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The SDGs form a cornerstone of the Western Cape Education Department’s (WCED) Transform to Perform (T2P) Strategy.
Beaming Principal, Dylan Tommy, said: “We decided to focus on Goal 3 – Good Health and Well-Being (Mental Health); Goal 4 – Quality Education (Staying in School) and Goal 5 – Gender Equity.”
Business Studies teacher and musician, Deon Ryck, and a group of 10 learners penned the song’s final lyrics. With the foundation never far away to guide and advise them, and the real boon of course, former Freshly Ground lead vocalist, Zolani Mahola ever-present to literally hold their hands, they completed the song writing process and recorded the lyrics in a studio. Next up was shooting an accompanying video, starring none other than the learners and Zolani, as facilitated and made possible by their international partners, and released on 20 November 2022.
In the seeming ‘aftermath’ of the pandemic, and the recovery strategies deployed by education authorities globally, music, as always, plays a role in overcoming trauma and developing resilience. Gardens Commercial High School and their partners recognise that music is a universal language and a vehicle to convey important messages. The ones that they touch on in the song are gender-based violence, mental health issues and critically, a pleasing emphasis on the importance of staying in school.
When Tommy was asked what his school community and particularly the learners took away from what can best be described as a unique and unbelievable opportunity for them to make a difference, he couldn’t underscore enough how very impressed with their professionalism and enthusiasm the international partners were. “They were even more impressed with the learners’ passion, commitment and talent,” said Tommy, “not to mention how much our learners really enjoyed the experience and how extremely grateful they were for the opportunity!”
Whilst for Tommy and his staff, it is understandably still too early to gauge the impact of the entire experience on the learners, he maintains a boost in school pride is already visible. For the individual learners that had participated in the project,” asserts Tommy, “we’ve noticed a boost in self-confidence and a sense of pride in what they have accomplished. We are of course hoping in the long term that the song will inspire learners both locally and across the world to stay in school.”
Click here to watch the video.