Sound power

The Federated Union of Black Artists offers classes in drama, dance, visual arts and music.

SINCE its establishment in 1978 as the Federated Union of Black Artists (Fuba), the union has expanded to become an academy that offers classes in drama, dance, visual arts and music.

But the lack of funding in the 1980s forced Fuba to close the dance department. In 1997, Fuba was again faced with financial difficulties, resulting in another two departments being left to operate separately from the Fuba School of Music.

The Fuba School of Music sees about 59 students graduating from their three-year music course each year. And there is also the Fuba School of Visual Arts and Drama. Fuba School of Music offers a course that takes students from the basics of music theory to playing musical instruments. It has over the years nutured talents of young South Africans, including the likes of kwaito star Arthur Mafokate, Afro-jazz maestro and Moses Taiwa Molelekwa.

Geoff Mapaya, director of academic studies, is currently lobbying for Fuba’s national diploma to be recognised as a professional certificate, enabling Fuba students to teach in government schools. However, he says institutions like the University of Cape Town, Wits University and Pretoria Technikon admit students from Fuba. ”We also have students from other African countries who study at Fuba and upon graduating go back to their respective countries to teach music,” he adds.

Committed to reaching out to more schools, Fuba has embarked on a pilot project called the Fuba School of Music Teacher Training Project, which targets schools in KwaThema in Springs and aims to introduce and empower schoolteachers to teach music.

Still in its initial stages, the project will hopefully go national. ”While Curriculum 2005 aims to incorporate music as one of the eight fields of learning, the biggest problem,” says Mapaya, ”is having teachers in schools who were not trained in music and cannot teach the subject. Our project aims at dealing with such problems.”

— The Teacher/Mail & Guardian, February 28, 2000.


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Luvuyo Kakaza
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