The Field Band Foundation celebrated its 20th birthday with a formal dinner on Thursday 26th October 2017. Held at the Gordon Institute of Business Science, the gathering had FBF director Nonceba Lushaba as MC, and brought together key partners of the FBF’s work, Foundation directors, senior management, and representatives of FBF operations.

Keynote speaker was Johannesburg executive mayor Herman Mashaba, who described his involvement with the Foundation – from being a Patron through to leading the company as its chairman until his retirement in early 2016. Cllr Mashaba encouraged the audience to continue to expand the reach of the Foundation’s work, and pledged his own family’s continual support.

Mr Ronnie Lubner, who was instrumental in founding the FBF in 1997, flew in from London for the happy occasion, at which his generous sponsorship of a new FBF educational initiative, the Ronnie and Rhona Lubner Leadership Programme, was announced.

Other key FBF partners celebrating the FBF’s milestone birthday included Black Like Me, FK Norway, Investec, Jasper Power Company, Norwegian Band Federation, Norwegian Embassy, Ogilvy & Mather, PG Group, and Tshikululu Social Investments (Anglo American Chairman’s Fund, De Beers Fund, Scatec Solar).

In his address, FBF chairman Brian Gibson quoted from the Foundation’s founding strategy of November 1997:

“Although music and movement play an important part in Field Bands, it is not the main priority. Apart from providing a forum for fun and entertainment, Field Bands are designed to teach young people important lessons of life such as:

  • The need to co-operate with and serve others
  • The importance of self-worth, punctuality and responsibility; and
  • The thrill of belonging. Widespread recruitment and easy entry to Field Bands will ensure that the activity is not restricted to the ‘talented few”. Youngsters who need it most will be drawn into the process. In particular, those who come from disadvantaged circumstances will be given a sense of purpose and achievement.”

These guiding principles, he said, “continue to inform our work 20 years later. They ensure that our interventions with young people contribute to a chain of events that produce measurable impacts”.

CEO Nicky du Plessis described the FBF’s institutional strengthening through its Fit-for-Purpose (F4P) programme:

“During 2017, the F4P journey has seen major change to the Foundation’s management-governance operational system and mandates, and a focus on the development and rollout of deep but considered revision and updates to especially:

  • Processes to simplify and make “F4P” the Foundation’s educational offerings in a consolidation of training that is relevant to today’s young SA
  • Updating Monitoring and Evaluation systems in alignment with an improved Theory of Change that appropriately articulates our psycho-social developmental model for our work
  • Improved capacitation of the Foundation’s national and central functions and the staffing thereof
  • Reworking funding models and sustainability strategies long-term; and
  • Professionalisation of staff training in core management functions, from project management, to operational leadership, to monitoring and evaluation, to making practically real – at every level and type of Field Band activity – a F4P Theory of Change”.

The evening began with a special performance of the national champions Investec Alexandra Field band, and highlights included tributes paid to founders and key supporters by Brian Gibson, along with special recognition of the work and dedication over many year of Herman Mashaba and Brian and Lorraine Gibson; and a fond farewell to Regional Operations Manager Moira Thomas, who is moving to Pretoria after 17 years in the Field Band Foundation.

“du Plessis spoke of her confidence that “the immediate and long-term effects of the Field Band Foundation’s F4P journey can carry the organisation to being best-in-class in its type of work in profound ways”.