Keiskamma Youth Orchestra serenades one of the Free State’s big cats

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How does one turn a cheetah into a music lover?

Well, having the string orchestra from the Eastern Cape’s Keiskamma Music Academy serenade it, while it lies in the withering Free State winter sun might be a good way to start. And that is exactly what happened this morning, when the 125 members of the Academy went exploring Bloemfontein.

The members of the academy are celebrating the tenth years of its existence with a countrywide tour. Since Bloemfontein is Cheetah country, they saw it fit to get up close and personal with some of the big cats.

The academy’s string orchestra had an impromptu performance on the lawn at the Cheetah Experience conservation project, while staff members, and one of the local cheetahs looked on.

They are preparing for the Bloemfontein leg of their tour, which starts with a performance at the Gereformeerde Kerk Bloempark tonight. They can also be seen at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Heuwelsig tomorrow.

The academy was started as a means to keep children from Hamburg in the Eastern cape entertained, and prevent them from succumbing to social ills such as drugs and alcohol.

Students range from 8 to 21 years old, with a number of them having been recipients of the Hennie Joubert Merit Prize from UNISA, and winning double gold at the Eastern Cape Eisteddfod.