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Matjana Preschool Newsletter

Volume 6, Edition 9- October 2012

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Music and magic at Matjana!

There were lots of smiles and laughter when the Matjana kids and teachers were treated to two performances, one musical and one magical.


Martin plays the clarinet and Lauri the piano, or when backpacking, a mouth organ. They were staying in Swaziland for a few days and decided to pay a visit to Matjana Preschool. Being musicians, they thought it would be nice to do a bit of a performance at the preschool. So they learnt a few of the songs that the students sing , to play with the m while they sang. YouTube proved a good source of sample music and the musicians were soon booming out preschool favourites like ‘Jesus loves the little children’ and ‘Building up a temple’. They managed to find the Swazi National Anthem, which almost all school students in Swaziland sing at morning assembly, but were a bit daunted- not the easiest of tunes to learn and not a good one to get wrong.


The musicians were interested in more than performing a few songs– they also wanted to learn more about Swaziland and thought that visiting the preschool would help with that. There are obviously quite a few cultural differences between Estonia and Swaziland, which Lauri and Martin were happy to experience first hand in the Matjana Preschool garden. They filled in their morning chatting with the parents and helping with the gardening. After a trip down to the well to fetch water, they lent a hand digging holes for, and placing fence posts. They might have gardened the whole day away if we hadn’t dragged them into the classroom to perform their music.


Swazi kids rarely get the opportunity to see musical instruments and it was the first time for most of the pre-schoolers to see a clarinet or touch a mouth organ. They ran with ‘fear’ when the first note bellowed out of the clarinet (but pre-schoolers have a tendency of looking for any excuse to run around and be a bit silly, and we suspect they were far more excited than they were afraid). Any fears they had dissipated pretty quickly. As soon as the mouth organ appeared they crowded around Lauri waiting for their turn to touch the keys and make some music.


The kids were obviously excited, and the musicians a bit surprised about just how much excitement seeing two musical instruments could cause. But the teachers settled them down and they spent half an hour singing and listening to musical renditions of some of their favourite school songs before home time.  The teachers on the other hand had no intention of going home. After a quick cup of tea, teacher Fortunate dragged out the school drum and invited the Estonians to jam to some Swazi beats. And of course when there are beats, Swazis have a tendency to dance, so the musicians were treated to an impromptu performance of ingadla, Swazi dances for girls.



Dino and Aldana are a magician and journalist who have been travelling the world making magic for children and writing about it in their blog. Matjana Presschool is one of many schools they’ve visited and performed their magic show Magia en el Camino. They want to put smiles on the faces of children everywhere, and they certainly managed to make the Matjana kids smile.


Dino had lots of tricks up his sleeve. He amazed the kids with disappearing balls, a magical colouring book and many other tricks. In between taking videos and photos for their blog, Aldana found the time to mould some balloons into the shape of flowers and animals, which fascinated the kids just as much as the things that disappeared.


Like the music, it was the first time for most of the pre-schoolers to see a magic show. They watched in awe, and what seemed like just a little bit of genuine fear when the magician called one of their teachers up to help with the magic. Pre-schoolers tend to idealise their teachers and they seemed to be a bit worried that their beloved Teacher Swane would disappear along with the balls and handkerchiefs. But she stayed in the classroom and in the end the kids were laughing and smiling.