Sirkel: Noordoos-Kaap

Beriggewer: Antoinette van Pletzen

Datum: 22 April  2021


Sirkel Noordoos-Kaap is baie trots op ons Sirkelpresident, Irma Davel van Molteno, wat op Donderdag 22 April 2021 haar Doktorsgraad in Musiek ontvang het! Haar studie het gegaan oor: “THE UNIFYING EFFECT OF MUSIC IN A COMMUNITY – A CASE STUDY OF THE LADY GREY PASSION PLAY”.


Sy is waarlik ‘n kenner van die Oos-Kaapse dorp Lady Grey, se Passiespel, aangesien sy sedert 2002 self betrokke was by die aanbieding, en 2 van haar seuns (en later ook ‘n voornemende skoondogter) het ook verskeie kere hoofrolle daarin vertolk. Irma is in Theunissen, in die Vrystaat, gebore en geskool. Daarná het sy haar B.Mus, Honneurs, M.Mus en nou ook Ph.D in Musiek alles by die Vrystaatse Universiteit behaal. Sy het haar loopbaan as musiek-opvoeder in Pretoria begin, en is tans musiekonderwyser in die Oos-Kaapse dorp, Burgersdorp.


The Lady Grey Arts Academy is one of a few schools in Lady Grey, a small town in the Eastern Cape, founded in 1996. The school initially functioned as a Model C school for Afrikaans-speaking white learners who attempted to keep their status. However, children from all over the country wanted to study the arts, and soon the Academy consisted of all races. However, conflict arose between the Academy community and the residents of the town. This conflict was the catalyst for initiating the Lady Grey Passion Play (a community project similar to the one in Oberammergau, Germany) to try to find a solution to unify the community. The initial group consisted of educators of the Lady Grey Arts Academy, members of the Methodist Church, Dutch Reformed Church and the Anglican Church1, local business people, members of the Lady Grey Town Council and the local Tourism Board. The Lady Grey Passion Play was launched in 2002 and has been presented every year since (except 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic prevented the staging of the Play). It consists of actors, musicians, choir members and narrators from different demographic backgrounds and social status, all being members of the Lady Grey community. The last few days of Jesus Christ’s condemnation and crucifixion is portrayed over three days from the Friday until the Sunday of the Easter Weekend in different venues all around Lady Grey.


With her thesis Irma focuses on the extent to which music, as a integrated part of a community project between church & school, can be instrumental in building bridges in a diverse community. With this research into the unifying effect of music, Irma augments currant scholarship regarding the degree to which positive social transformation may be effected through the hosting of an annual community project – in this case the Lady Grey Passion Play. Using a qualitative method approach, conducting semi-structured interviews and observation as data collection methods, the study corroborates and reinforces the argument that selectively including music in community projects can contribute to inculcating positive change regarding mutual respect, reciprocity, group forming, cohesiveness and positive energy, thereby lessening potential conflict in a heterogeneous community.