Pan Rising In Botswana, Africa

In an effort to move with the times and to effect change with the new millennium, the Music Department of Broadhurst Primary School thought that they should expose their charges to something that was far different from the indigenous marimbas which was already a household entity amongst schools, not only in Botswana but on the continent of Africa.  Mr. John Studdart, the school's Deputy Head, himself a musician, being well aware of the potential of the steelpan was adamant that this, the only musical invention of the previous century should be introduced to Broadhurst. 

Fate had it that the school's Headmaster Mr. R. Altschul was on a visit to the United Kingdom where, inter ala, he visited a school in Northampton where he encountered Music Teacher Kevin Smart whose specialty was pan.

The Headmaster was so moved by the programme that a deal was struck between the two schools which resulted in Mereway Junior Secondary School Steel Orchestra undertaking an overseas trip to Botswana.  Pan workshops were conducted for both staff and pupils of Broadhurst Primary School.

This gesture served as a fillip for the founding of The Broadhurst Primary School Steel Orchestra.  All this occurred in 1999.

With instruments purchased from a manufacturer in Port Elizabeth, South Africa pupils who opt for music as an extra-mural activity are exposed to pan.

There are now three pansides at Broadhurst:- Chipolatas, Marang, and Calabash.  Pannists move up and down the ranks as they move up the standards grades) at school but can also move up to the top band -Calabash- if they excel in "panmanship".

The band has fulfilled many engagements since its inception some five years ago including a presentation for Botswana's President, The Honorable Festus Mugabe.

The school is interested in assistance in transposing music specifically for pan.


Hollis J. Clifton
Africa Correspondent


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