Monthly Archives: August 2014

Unlock Foundation is set to educate Africa one rural school at a time

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Unlock Foundation is a non-profit organization that seeks to address critical educational gaps in rural African schools.We work with teachers, students and community members on small sustainable projects that ensure students receive the best primary education possible.

I spoke to Scott Karrel the founder of Unlock Foundation to find out more about this organisation. People from all over the world have been pledging their support to Unlock Foundation by posting their pictures holding cards of what they unlock and some have even gone to the extent of donating money and supporting the organisation through buying their T-shirts.

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Q: Since its formation has the unlock foundation achieved it’s short term goals?

A: Unlock Foundation was established on the ideals that all children deserve the best primary education possible, and I remain confident that we are doing our best to achieve our goals. We are a very small organization, but we know that by improving a school, you are not only providing one child with a pathway out of poverty, but you are helping the family, the community, and the country as a whole.

Q: Your mission seeks to address critical educational gaps in rural African schools: Do you have an immediate plans to expand the program  to other African countries?

A: We have a made a commitment to our three partner schools, 2 in Namibia and 1 in Ghana, and we will not expand to other countries until every student at our partner schools can regularly attend class, meet educational standards, and more importantly, the schools and communities can sustain that level of success themselves. 

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Q: How has the response from Stakeholders been like?

A: The core of Unlock Foundation are the students, teachers, and community members who develop and implement each project. Ultimately, this is not my organization, it is their organization. There is a great African proverb that says, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” I think that represents this organization, Unlock Foundation is just a partner, it is up to each school to be the change.

Q:  Looking at the level of education in Africa, how do you think we can make sure that we raise educated children?

A:  I believe the key to raising an educated child, is to ensure that each child has the resources, support, and skills to reach their potential. That could mean anything from textbooks to well-trained teachers to proper school infrastructure. It truly does take a village to raise a child, and that means every child. Too often those in rural communities, those that have a mental disability, and even just girls are left behind, all children must have the opportunity to succeed.

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Q: What are your long-term plans as an organisation?

A:  I will be traveling to Namibia in September to meet with our in-country staff to plan our long-term goals. We hope to continue to inspire, empower, and further UNLOCK more dreams for children across Africa.

Q: How are children not enrolled at schools catered for or is Primary education free ?

A:  While primary education might be free, children in rural communities face enormous challenges each and every day. These barriers range from health issues like Malaria, water-borne illnesses, other expenses like supplies and uniforms, unsafe school environments, and long distances to travel to school.

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Q:  Are there any plans to move into secondary education?

A: We are now focused on building a positive support system for primary school- aged students. 

To learn more, you can visit .unlockfoundation.org

Photographer: Sandor Oroszi

 

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Undivided Roots: Keeping their father’s legacy alive

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I was introduced to the sounds of undivided roots at the Basha Uhuru Freedom Festival that took place in June at Constitutional Hill. I caught up with them to find out more about them

Q:How was Undivided Roots formed?

A: Well it started  as a one man band by our late father Roots Ntsangu Cele.  He was a street musician in Pietermaritzburg,  some hated him some loved him,  he started playing with other different groups with some guys from his area and he found that there wasn’t any seriousness,  they didn’t appreciate  anything he had to offer,   so he formed his first three piece band with two of his older children Wadada his son who was 11 years old and Greenfields his daughter who was 9 years old at the time. He did Savuka festival in Swaziland in 1997 for the first time then toured around S.A working with Credit Indemnity which was a good experience.  We’ve been playing since 2007 as new family members joined in Undivided Roots.

Q: How did you decide on the name?

A: Our father Roots came up with the name taken from his roots and all the trouble his been through with his children, he knew nobody can separate him with his children as he is a one big tree with roots that can never be separated.

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Q: Have you performed outside South Africa before?

A: As a six piece band no we haven’t we still playing around SA  and hoping that soon its gonna happen that we  tour around the world.

Q: What do u think of African musicians and African music in General?

A: African music is good! But we think African musicians can do more, like young artist could give more positive message out there, cause life should always be inspiring.

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Q: Would you ever collaborate with African artist?

A: Yeah, sure we can, I mean there’s a lot of inspiration in S.A music out there especially in reggae.

Q: Which musicians would you love to collaborate with?

A: There’s quite a lot,  like Denver Jacobs,with Rock stone band from Capetown and Thandiswa Mazwai,  Slave,  Zahara, Prime Circle, and The Meditators from Durban.

Q: Music is universal. Do you think that is true?

A:  Yes that’s true, we know its true cause that’s what music supposed to be, music is love and it covers all corners of the earth.

Q: Are you signed to a record label?

A: No not really but we  try to work with a lot of people, like Mr Gavin Paul-Jolliffe.  Who’s been very great to us and he understands us, he is a great manager and promoter,  mostly we do street music we call busking like our father was a street busker in PMB.

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Q:  Who are the band members (Stage names and Real names) ?

A: We don’t have stage names but there’s our own names we named ourselves, our real names are: Wadada 30 years old rhythm guitar and vocals:  Revival 23 years old bass guitar and vocals:  Heaven 20 years drums percussion and vocals:  Spear 18 years old keyboards guitar and vocals:  Rainbow 15 years old guitar and vocals:  Judgement 12 years old lead guitar and vocals.

Q: What is a normal day like to all of you?

A: On a normal day it’s practice during lunch time and than more practice and watching live music performance’s and programmes .We try to make everyday  a positive day.

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Q: Does everyone in the group do music full time or is there anything else that you do?

A: Yes everyone does full time music but each individual has their own thing,  like Spear is a dancer and rapper,  Wadada does music production in the roots development.  Revival does fashion designing and is a stylist,  Rainbow does beaded art craft and  Heaven is a bag designer.

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