Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) has joined hands with the Hugo Tempelman Foundation to bring the World Doctors Orchestra (WDO) to South Africa for the first time, where they will raise funds for HIV/AIDS projects in two exciting classical music concerts. Programme beneficiaries, the Ndlovu Care Group from Elandsdoorn north-west of Johannesburg, have been supported by the WDO for four years.
A group of 100 doctors from 30 nationalities has been specially selected from the 500-strong member WDO, due to their exceptional musical abilities, to perform in two benefit concerts in Cape Town and Johannesburg in February. Through the medium of classical music, the doctors will bring their special brand of attention to a global emergency – the spread of HIV/AIDS.
MBSA Divisional Corporate Affairs Manager, Nobuzwe Mangcu, explains why the automotive company has become involved in the initiative: “In 2000 Mercedes-Benz South Africa first heeded the call to act against HIV and Aids. For over 10 years we have raised awareness for, and actively spoken about the prevention of the disease - first amongst our staff, then expanding our successful model to small businesses around our manufacturing plant, and then into communities. The work done in the community of Elandsdoorn by the Hugo Tempelman Foundation has a direct correlation to the aims of our own corporate social investment focus on HIV/AIDS.”
The work of the Foundation at the Ndlovu Care Group in Elandsdoorn supports the holistic approach of Dutch doctor, Hugo Tempelman, in the fight against HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. The approach focuses on education and advocacy about the disease and providing essential healthcare services. “This is exactly the sustainability model that MBSA ascribes to in the work we have done with employees in our Workplace HIV/AIDS programme, the small businesses on our Siyakhana project and the Trucking Wellness network of clinics that we support.”
The WDO is a non-profit organisation based in Germany that attracts membership from all corners of the world, with the common goal of focussing the world’s attention on curable infectious diseases that still plague many undeveloped countries. This includes illnesses such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, leprosy and malaria. In the process, they also raise money for beneficiaries in the countries where they perform. According to the WDO: “healthcare is a human right, and the precondition for human development”. Doctor-musicians participating in the WDO concerts cover their own travel costs.
The South African programme is the ninth of this nature, following on similar expeditions to Berlin, Cleveland, Taipei, Yerevan, Washington, Beijing and Shanghai. The WDO tour of South Africa kicks off in Cape Town with a concert on 9 February, followed by a concert in Johannesburg on Sunday, 12 February 2012. Concerts will be conducted by founder of the WDO, Prof. Dr. Stefan N. Willich – an accomplished doctor and musician.
Famous South African composers contribute to the program: Allan Stephenson’s Pastorale for Clarinet is interpreted by Maria du Toit, who is one of the foremost clarinettist in South Africa. South African composer Peter Klatzow, teacher of contemporary classical music at University of Cape Town, contributes with the commissioned work “Healing Melody”.
STORY BY MERCEDES-BENZ