The Field Band Foundation and Reatile Group celebrate a bright future for music in South Africa.

The Field Band Foundation (FBF) is a non-profit organisation which seeks to improve the lives of disadvantaged children in rural South African communities through the art of singing, dance and music.

The foundation manages more than 40 bands with an average of 120 members in each of South Africa’s provinces. The logistics behind such an organisation are monumental, and when the foundation called to the public and private sectors for assistance, Reatile Group responded with an amazing donation of laptops and Smartphones to the value of almost half a million rand.

Reatile is a black-owned investment Holdings Company formed in 2003 which takes advantage of the opportunities presented by the economic transformation in the industrial sector of the South African Economy.

Chief executive officer of the Field Band Foundation, Nicky du Plessis, is excited for the organisation to enter the digital era. “The Field Band Foundation works on a decentralised business model, so we have a head office in Johannesburg, but the actual work takes place in hard-to-reach areas. There is a major lack of infrastructure in these areas for people to learn, practise and play music together.”

Du Plessis added that her employees often have communication difficulties, and the donation of laptops and Smartphones by Reatile will make a world of difference. “Being able to communicate with our national team in real time over Skype and Team Viewer will make a massive difference. It will help us do much more for our communities,” she said.

Project officer for the foundation, Phumzile Twala, highlighted some of the challenges she faces working in Alexandra. “The FBF’s project is a beautiful idea and we find that a lot of kids want to join, but we need more instruments. We also need dedicated practice time. The technical support we can receive via the Internet will make our jobs easier, though.”

Executive chairman of the Reatile Group, Simphiwe Mehlomakulu said his company is honoured to be involved with the foundation and that it is important to give back to the community, especially in a cultural sense. “We spend a lot of money on education and infrastructure for homeless and abused children, and this is undeniably important – but music also plays an important part in our lives and transcends all barriers. We are glad that we could play a part in the great work that the FBF does.”

Mehlomakulu added that Reatile would be involved in the foundation over the next three years and will also contribute to the National Field Band championships which are held in the third quarter of the year.

PUBLISHED in The Sandton Chronicle, please click here for the full article.