Sizwe’s Lullabies

A few years ago, MusicWorks ran a programme at Nomzamo Place of Safety in Langa. Nomzamo offered a temporary home for young children who have had to be removed from unsafe home environments.

The centre had sunny rooms, colourful walls, and a wonderful group of caring staff. It offered a haven to children who had experienced unspeakable trauma.

Sizwe MusicWorks ran a weekly programme at Nomzamo, consisting of individual music therapy sessions, as well as music sessions with bigger groups of children. Sizwe Lubengu worked as Community Musician on the MusicWorks team at the time. His music sessions where the highlight of a Tuesday morning. Staff would often pop in to the room where the music was happening to witness children laugh, play, sing and dance – as if they had not a care in the world.

The staff’s positive feedback on the children’s response to the music sessions made Sizwe think about how music could further permeate life at Nomzamo. He decided to record lullabies that the nurses could play while the children were getting ready for bed at night. With the help of Jo Edgar, a Scottish music therapist volunteering with MusicWorks, Sizwe recorded lullabies in both English and isiXhosa. Parents sing lullabies to their children – it is the natural way of the world. Sizwe hoped that his voice and the soothing sounds of the lullabies, would offer some comfort to the little ones, who had to go to bed without a parent kissing them goodnight.

Parents sing lullabies to their children – it is the natural way of the world.