Marching to their own beat: Brass band keeps youngsters from gang life

(From CNN)

Every Friday morning 17-year-old Sarel Ramphele puts on his gold-trimmed suit, grabs his trumpet and walks the 6 kilometers from his home in Blood River to the neighboring village.

Under a makeshift iron roof in the yard of an unused house he meets with scores of other young people to rehearse for what has become an improbable musical success story in one of South Africa’s poorest regions.

Based in Limpopo, a rural region whose lifeblood is its eponymous river, Bezzi’s Youth Brass Band is one local woman’s answer to a distinct lack of youth engagement in the area.

“There are absolutely no entertainment facilities for young people around here,” says Janet Bezuidenhout, 42, who set up the band just under three years ago. “The teenagers are just idling around.”

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