A couple of days ago I entered a competition and won two tickets to an event at Camphill Village. I had never heard about Camphill and the work that they do. When I entered the competition, I entered it purely for the poster which showed a line-up of artists.
Upon doing a little research, I discovered that Camphill Village is an organization that was established fifty years ago, by Julian and Renate Sleigh. They started off with one modest house set upon open sandy farmland about 55km outside of Cape Town on the West Coast near Malmesbury. Over 50 years they have grown it into a very successful community with a working farm of some 220 hectares, with various sub enterprises, and fifteen homes that can house ninety-eight adult residents in total.
In honour of Julian and Renate’s vision and lifelong commitment, the 50 year celebration was planned and thought out with great determination and strength of all the workers. The aim is to raise funds to set up a trust fund named after this amazing couple that will enable Camphill Village to support more people with intellectual disabilities, those who desperately need a place in a safe and caring community.
To quote: “In a developing country such as South Africa, with its vast disparity between the rich and the poor, there are so many competing needs that must be addressed and redressed, and there just isn’t enough State funding to provide adequate care for those with intellectual and cognitive disabilities from disadvantaged backgrounds. Many are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. All funds raised during our 50 years celebration will be invested in this trust creating a capital base to allow Camphill to provide more places for those most at risk and give them a secure future.”
I sat taking it all in – from the tables beautifully set up with fresh produce- lovely food and fresh juices to works of art and jewellery – old and young, joining hands to come together and proudly share what they do with us; a beautiful and touching experience to feel and see. My heart was stirred by the visible connection between the workers and the people that live there. A tight knit community and a feeling of family are evident. This isn’t just a job to the staff, but a work of love in progress. I had the opportunity of engaging some of the staff. Janine, who does the fundraising, told me that they decided to obtain a quote for a stage, but upon hearing how exorbitant the cost would be, they got stuck in and built one themselves. No project is too big or too difficult for them. The beauty of life at Camphill Village is the various projects they have undertaken, which include a Bakery, Dairy, Herbal Workshop, just to mention a few. Some of their products are sold in health shops in Cape Town! If I can encourage anyone that feels moved to give towards this worthy project, or even become a worker, please do so. Find out everything on their website: http://www.camphill.org.za/
The time had come for the music. The MC for the day, was none other than funnyman, Alvon Collison. Alvon took to the stage and from that moment the audience was in fits of laughter. Born to entertain, Alvon certainly did a fine job. Alvon is a Cape Town born Entertainer and has been called “Mr Showbiz” in South Africa for more than 35 years. Apparently, after his performance as ‘Pharoah’ in Joseph (3000 performances), he won the Gallo award and Three Leaf award. Tim Rice the author, said he was the best ‘Pharoah’ in the world. No small wonder he is so good at what he does. To find out more, go check out his website: http://www.alvoncollison.co.za/
I felt excited about the lineup. Freshly Ground was the main act that offered to get involved. I admire them for their willingness to invest their time and energy into the local community. The same can be said for Valiant Swart and his involvement in this worthy cause. These two acts are perfect for an event of this nature. Their heart for people is astounding.
Some fresh and young artists that showcased their talent are part of an empowerment programme facilitated by Vision Records in Atlantis, namely SillyBoi, Tasha, Che-V and CeeJ.
Laurenzo Davids is the CEO for Vision Records and has a heart for young people and empowering them to use their gifts. Not only does he promote and support young people in the community, but he is an artist himself. Laurenzo Davids is 27 years old and comes from Atlantis – he is a qualified math and science teacher and a full time music producer, singer and actor (Huis van Davids – Kyknet). Laurenzo traveled to the USA where he worked with All 4 One, Wayne Brady and wait for it…………….Stevie Wonder in 2010/2011! Since then Laurenzo has traveled the world, namely the UK, Belgium, and Namibia to mention just a few. Here is a video of him singing on You Tube………..amazing talent!
Laurenzo started Vision Music Records in 2011 and it was officially registered in September 2012. The company’s core business is Artist recruitment, Events, recording, music production, song writing and music lessons. The music lessons will now move over to an NPO in order to obtain funding from entities such as the government etc. Daily life for Laurenzo consists of Music production, motivational speaking, events organizing, with the help of his staff, Chris Samuels and Ralph Johannes (co-producer).
Here is a little information on each of the young people:
SillyBoi is 21 years old and lives in Atlantis. He was first signed to VMR about 2 years ago as a male rapper, writer and composer. SillyBoi is also a South African volleyball player. He has 3 singles and is currently working on a 4th song. His single “Love meets war” plays on GHFm.
Che-V is 23 years of age and also hails from Atlantis. Che-V is a female rapper, signed to VMR in August 2013. She is a writer and composer and has released 3 singles and is currently in the process of working on a 4th. Her singles “Love meets war ft SillyBoi” is currently playing on GHFm. She also features with Sundae, a rapper from Cape Town on his single “Partly cloudly” which plays on HeartFm – also featuring on the single is Laurenzo Davids himself. For me Che-V is a young lady with oodles of talent and a strong message. Listen to her songs here:
Tashna is 22 years old and the very first female vocalist signed to VMR in August 2013. She is also a writer and composer and resides in Pella. Her genre is Pop, R&B and dance. Her 1st single is out and she is currently working on her 2nd single.
CeeJay is the youngist one -20 years of age and also lives in Atlantis – he is the first male vocalist signed to VMR in March 2014. He is a writer as well as a composer. He is currently working on his debut single. His genre is Pop, R&B.
Other bands featured were Bootleggers Blues Band, No Pressure, Ras Kerry’s Cheety and Greg Kentgens.
From the moment Ras Kerry and his band stepped onto that stage I immediately thought Bob Marley had just come back to earth to entertain us. Ras Kerry has a certain aura of someone with a message. Follow him on Facebook to find out more and keep up to date with events: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cheety/175023436032426
Watch him here:
Bootleggers Blues Band entertained us from beginning to end. Advanced in years, but certainly not in heart and spirit – the blues came alive in every sense of the word – rhythm and groove are two words that I can use to describe the Bootleggers. People were standing in front of the stage dancing and laughing. Pure joy on faces all round. Follow them on facebook to keep up to date with their current events: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Bootleggers/118488291532043
Greg Kentgens has a unique voice which grabbed me from the word go. A huskiness is present in his voice and I found it unique and engaging. Greg is in the process of releasing a brand new song which will be featured on the radio. Watch this space. To find out more about Greg add him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/greg.kentgens?fref=ts
What really encapsulated the day for me, personally, was the spirit of oneness among the people. Music truly brings a bond that unites hearts. It breaks down all barriers, be it cultural or racial, because music frees your mind. The message of music, speaks to the soul and brings change.
I left there richer for the experience. Please reach out and support communities like Camphill and our local music industry.
Thank you for reading my blog!