Children of Deben get gold in band competition and changes lives

10 October 2012

Community members of Deben, 50km west of Kuruman in the Northern Cape, have much to celebrate this week: its newly formed Deben Field Band, sponsored by Assmang’s Khumani Iron Ore Mine, came first in the dance section at the Field Band Foundation’s National Championship held on Saturday, 6 October 2012.

Aside from going home with the trophy for the Best Dance Performance, the band, made up of 120 children ranging from 7 to 23 years of age, were second runners-up in the first division and received bronze medals for their efforts.

The nine field bands that qualified to compete in the National Championships – there are 22 field band programmes in South Africa and a total of 44 bands – put their musical talents on display in Sandton at the Field Band Foundation’s annual competition.

Field Band qualified to attend the finals at the Regional Championships on 25 August 2012, held at Galeshewe Stadium in Kimberley.

“We are hoping to use this amazing band to inspire children across the area to strive towards their dreams,” says Johannes Meintjes, Executive Operational Effectiveness for African Rainbow Minerals (ARM).

“We want to ensure ongoing improvement in the communities where we work and provide skills training to enhance the employability of the local community”.

Dennis Dituku, Socio-Economic Development Superintendent for Khumani Iron Ore Mine was responsible for the formation of the band, which was launched on 9 June 2012 as Assmang’s first band.

“We are extremely proud of the children and we are so excited that they have done so well,” says Dituku. “Listening to them compete on Saturday, one wouldn’t have believed that they have only been in existence for five months, and playing for only three.

“We currently have 268 children in the band, but could bring only 120 to the competition. Ordinarily the entire band plays at every event we host. We pay them a performance fee, thereby encouraging them to take the band seriously.

“Children in our area are hungry for something different and they want to become constructive citizens of our country,” he says. “They love music and dancing, and the band combines their two interests and gives them the platform in which to develop their talents and abilities”.

Dituku says that the children in the band come from the primary and high school in Deben. The aim of forming the band is to provide the children in the area with skills and confidence.

“In addition it provides them with a strong work ethic as they have to come to each rehearsal and be on time. They also have to work hard to master their instrument and learn to play in harmony and dance as a team”.

The children practice from 15h00 to 17h00 every Monday to Thursday. Through the programme, they have access to music theory, they learn how to dance, how to conduct music and choreography.

“We wanted to make a sustainable and meaningful impact in the community, and what better way than to invest in the upliftment and development of the youth,” says Irene Dhlomo, Social Investment Manager for Khumani Iron Ore Mine.

“You cannot believe what belonging to this band means to not only the children, but to their parents. They can see a future for their children.

“Originally they thought it would just be something to keep their children busy, but as the band began to play at various events and they started to see how their children are developing into musicians and dancers, their perception has changed.

“Now, with the band’s achievement at this competition, we are sure that more children will want to join the band and more parents will be willing to allow them to,” says Ms Dhlomo.

The band also gives the company access to other opportunities to help the children in the community: special interventions in the form of food hampers, health care, clothing and bursaries are provided to those children who are in need.

Assmang Limited is a 50/50 joint venture between African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) Limited and Assore Limited.

For more information about the band, contact Dennis Dituku at

For more information please contact:

African Rainbow Minerals
Charlotte Stoole
Socio-Economic Development Officere
Tel: 011 779 1248
Cell: 079 513 7994

Media contact
Ruth Coggin
Socio-Economic Development Officere
Tel: 011 487 0026
Cell: 082 903 5819

About ARM

African Rainbow Minerals Limited, ARM, is a leading South African diversified mining and minerals company, with world-class long-life, low unit cost assets. ARM owns ferrous and base metals, platinum, coal and copper operations and holds a strategic interest in the gold mining sector through its shareholding in Harmony.