A Little Bit of Brazil in South Africa

Jenny Turk

Two days ago Ward told us that before we left Cape Town, we were going to go to a drum circle. My first thought was of a bunch of hippies sitting around a fire drumming, however that was not the case at all. We started off the afternoon ordering lunch from a small café. Little did we know that the restaurant was below the drum room. We ordered pizza for everyone and then went upstairs to get started.

We walked into a large purple room that smelled of smoke and dust. There were all sorts of drums and shakers in the middle of the room. Colvin started by telling us about a program called Dance 4 Life. He explained that the purpose of the organization is to inform young people about AIDs and HIV prevention. Colvin also told us about Red Zebra, the non-profit that he and his assistant Theo are part of. The work of the organization is to help create unity through creative group interaction.

When he was done giving us some background on Red Zebra, Colvin told us to pick one of the instruments scattered about the room. I immediately ran for one of the big bass drums. They were red, green, yellow, and red striped. He gave us a beat and we were off. Each type of instrument – shaker, drum, cowbell, and Jimmy Drum had its own rhythm and we created a beautiful harmony together. The drumming was amazing. It was empowering to hit the bass drum and feel the vibration of sound coming out from it. In harmony with the other bass drums we made such a powerful sound. I had so much fun. I felt jealous that these men get to drum and make such beautiful music everyday.

It was great to hear the harmony between instruments and wonderful to see how well we worked together to create one beautiful sound. That’s the thing about South Africa; everywhere I go there is this sense of unity unlike anything I have ever felt at home. Here I have seen the power of people working together and the willingness of people to open up to total strangers. If I could bring one lesson home it would be the importance of unity and trust.


Soul Kerr

Today was the day that I got to let my own unique talent shine through the group. I had been excited when I got to play the drumset at Wynberg High, so imagine my excitement when I got to engage in a drum circle with all of my peers.

After shopping in the craft market, we headed up the street a few blocks to a humble café located directly under the attic we used for our little jam session. There were drums, shakers, cowbells, and many other things that we used to create a medley of rhythms and beats. The people who led the circle were enthusiastic and fun, and they got everybody engaged. I have been missing my own drum set at home and as a result my legs have been pretty sore from my beating on them all the time. I am glad we got to do something where I was so in my element. For me, today’s activity goes to show how powerful music is in bringing people together. I will definitely take that lesson home and continue to improve my musical ability forever.

Teacher Mark Leads the Group
  • I am feeling so full of love and admiration for all of you, for your sensitivity and maturity and compassion. You seem to be getting an enormous amount out of this fabulous journey. Rosy

  • Dana Kerr

    I must see the video for this!!!! Please!!!

  • Marc Mayou

    That looks like a lot of fun, glad to see the whole class getting involved.