By Amanda Matshaka


Listening to and watching the Limpopo Youth Orchestra play, one is mesmerised by their sounds and they look perfect. Perhaps they are perfect now but that is not how they started. Their journey was marred by a lot of challenges. According to LYO founder, Simone Aronje-Adetoye their journey has not been an easy one.

Simone left her home in Cape Town to follow her calling to help give hope to the lives of young people from previously disadvantaged backgrounds in Limpopo province. Having had a difficult childhood characterised by abuse and finding comfort in her love for music throughout her ordeal, it was no surprise that Simone would use music to bring hope to children from disadvantaged homes.

Struggling with funding and being without daily necessities in pursuit of a dream didn’t stop Simone from achieving her goal. Her vision was to see advantaged children from the private school where she taught music in order to raise funds, “integrated with Limpopo’s most vulnerable’’, she says. “I thought how awesome would it be to have a multicultural orchestra in Polokwane with children from diverse backgrounds. I thought to myself that has never been accomplished in Limpopo province before”.

The orchestra has helped shape the lives of many of its members.  Thembi who lives with her mother in one of Polokwane’s rural areas says her family never thought that she would one day play “white people’s music”, she laughs. Thembi would like to perform overseas and also teach other kids orchestra. “Music is something you have to share”, she says.  “I can now also help my family through the money I receive from the orchestra. Coming from a family of seven, and having no father, things have not been easy for us but through what I’m doing I can help support my family. I will also be studying Jazz through the help of the orchestra”.



The Limpopo Youth Orchestra has also been involved in outreach programmes to help its musicians and their families with all their needs. Through music, they’re hoping to make a difference in people’s lives, especially young people.

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