The Alchemy Fund
The purpose of the Alchemy Fund is to raise money to help support community arts projects in the townships of Cape Town, South Africa. These projects use dance, music and the arts to support and develop the skills of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. The importance of this work cannot be underestimated in giving these young people purpose, focus, developing skills & self esteem, and helps to uplift their community and all involved. The people who run the projects often do so with little to no funding, often out of their own pocket and in very difficult conditions. Coming from the same background as these children, Marchant also benefited from the selfless generosity of his own teachers, without which he wouldn't be where he is today. So this is something very close to both our hearts.
We donate 10% of the proceeds from The Alchemy Socials to the fund... so your dancing benefits someone else's dancing all the way down there in South Africa! If you want to give a little extra, there is also a collection pot at our socials.
To date we have raised thousands of pounds which has been donated to various projects outlined below.
THE JAZZ YARD ACADEMY
The Jazz Yard Academy is a small non-profit organisation operating in Marchant's home townshipBonteheuwel since April 2014, with the prime objective of creating a healthy society through the medium of music.
Under the guidance of experienced musicians, these youngsters (7-18 yr olds) find a new meaning to life. It is encouraging to see the way music brings a smile to their faces, … how excited they are about every new lesson!
Our mission goes well beyond giving young people an opportunity to become proficient musicians. We are passionate about creating a better society, where the humane qualities & principles proliferate.
Through love (our motto “Spread the Love”), and encouragement and total support of individual expression, we strive to promulgate values such as: respect & tolerance for one another, self-belief & positivity, a nature of honesty, strife for success & excellence, independent thinking, creativity & innovation, and the knowledge that love can conquer the evils in our society.
The children have wowed their audiences wherever they performed, very often mixing it on-stage with some of our most highly respected local and international musicians. They have appeared on-stage at Community Chest Carnival, Artscape, AFDA Theatre, Nassau Theatre, Baxter Theatre, Oude Libertas Amphitheatre.
They have also been honored by both Blake Hellaby and Heinrich Isaacs, being invited to open for the launch of their respective new albums. Their performance at the Jazzathon (V&A Waterfront Amphitheatre) early 2017, had the crowd baying for more. At the Muizenberg Jazz Festival, in Oct 2017, they had the honor to be selected as performers with internationally acclaimed musicians.
Four JYA children were selected as part of the CTIJF "All Star" band, and under the superb directorship of maestros Camillo Robert Lombard and Don Vino Prins, they performed at the CTIJF concert in Greenmarket Square in March 2018.
Four children were also selected to perform as live band at the World's Children's Prize ceremony in Sweden in April. This is a prestigous international event, equivalent to the Nobel Prize giving ceremony, but for children's rights.
We have many needs to keep this worthy initiative going. Funding for the instrument purchases, teachers' stipends, travelling costs, instrument repair costs, specialised workshops, outings, etc. comes from income earned from live performances, donations, and the shortfall comes from the passionate committee members.
HEAL THE HOOD PROJECT
Heal the Hood Project was created in 1998 by Emile Jansen of “Black Noise” one of South Africa’s pioneering Rap Groups and officially obtained its NPO status in 2008. The focus of the organisation came about by the realization of the importance of interaction between various communities and PUTTING BACK INTO OUR COMMUNITIES. Emile decided to include all the community outreach projects he was initiating in Black Noise as part of Heal the Hood Project and thus expanding the concept of putting back. The Each one Teach one methodology coupled with Do For Self Concerts and principles helped lay the foundation for this.
To create a sustainable network of youth artists nationally and internationally through which jobs and new skills are created, arts products and arts related information can be distributed.
To provide holistic youth activities, information that addresses community issues and creates a sense of self worth to help them become active participants in a democratic society.
SHIKILA DANCE PROJECT
Based in the township of Khayalitsha, we first met the talented young dancers of the Shikila Dance Project at the Cape Town Salsa Congress where they had the whole audience on their feet with their incredible energetic performance of traditional African dance. We went to visit them during a rehearsal which was held in a small room in a shack. They demonstrated how their environment has no bearing on their love and enjoyment of dance... it was just amazing to experience! The project is mainly self-funded by director Bheki Ndlovu (pictured on the drum). Money donated to Shikila helps provide the children with hall hire for their training, food and transport to performances.
MAD CREW (Making A Difference)
Based in Marchant's home township of Bonteheuwel, this street dance project is often taught in back yards, front rooms and literally on the street. We visited Wes and his 'crew' a couple of years ago and were moved by the energy and enthusiasm of the children. Krumping is a freestyle dance which helps the dancer to release emotion and express themself. The children told us how much they love to dance and how Krumping helps them deal with traumas in their lives. Money donated to this group has helped to hire the local community hall for their lessons - this is the same hall where Marchant learnt to dance ballroom as a child!
The Alchemy Fund has also contributed towards a party for young children from an orphanage.
We are always extremely grateful for the extra donations we receive from people from time to time. We also have some special Alchemy people who have gone the extra mile to help raise money for the fund... in spectacular style!
JAMES JUMPS OUT OF A PLANE
In 2017 Alchemy regular James Riggall participated in a charity skydive to raise money for the Alchemy Fund.
THE PANDA & THE BEAR!
In 2015 two of our Alchemy regulars, Vic Harry aka Panda & Phil Hall aka Bear, took it upon themselves to help the Alchemy Fund. Having a few pounds to spare, they decided to lose a few to raise pounds for the fund! They went on a sponsored slim for a month and lost more than a stone each, nearly 40 pounds in total (18kg). In doing so, they raised hundreds of pounds for the fund. Well done Panda & Bear, and thank you for your contribution to the children.