Making peace through music.  


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Join Bands, Not Gangs is a registered Non-Profit from Cape Town, South Africa (Reg.2018/341617/08) that acts as a supply chain for musical instruments. We use donated instruments to start programs that can help at-risk youth avoid joining gangs by staying constructively busySo far so good!

Our mission is to find and bring in musical instruments (new and used) and then redistribute them to underprivileged communities in a systematic way. We do this by partnering with fellow Non-Profits, Community Programs and Schools in at-risk communities on a grassroots level, thereby ensuring that music programs are sustainably and locally run, as well as running our own grassroots program in Scottsdene, Kraaifontein.

 “Our goal is to bring in and redistribute 1 million instruments to empower the next generation of young South Africans!”


3 friends on a mission…

Join Bands, Not Gangs was founded by Berklee College of Music Graduate, composer and multi-instrumentalist, Karien de Waal.  After meeting with Flip and Nicolene Botha from Scottsdene in the most miraculous way, they set out to bring music to the community of Scottsdene, Kraaifontein, reaching out to youngsters and gangsters alike!  Their mission is to be peacemakers, using music as a tool.   Through consistent, weekly lessons and the power of friendship, they are slowly but surely winning territory in the hearts of the people. 

The ground team is made complete by Reinette Myburgh, who handles fundraising and brings years of experience as a counsellor to the mix.  

Be faithful in the little and God will be able to trust you with much.

Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just one grain; it never becomes more but lives by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces many others and yields a rich harvest.

Our Vision

1 million instruments for 1 million young musicians.  Peace in the Cape Flats.

Starting Point

Cape Town, South Africa, 2018

Our Mission Field

Schools in at-risk communities, street gangs and grassroots music programs.

Early Achievements


Madiba Wethu

In early 2018, Karien produced the song “Madiba Wethu”, in order to call attention to the NGO. It was launched on the 100th Birthday of the late Mr Nelson Mandela – 18th of July, 2018.

Click here to view “Madiba Wethu” on YouTube.

Creative Collaboration

Some 60 musicians participated in the project, including Loyiso Bala, Elwira Standili, the Berklee Indian Ensemble, the Cape Town Youth Orchestra and the Sekunjalo Delft Big Band. This ignited a spark.


Within 11 days of the song’s launch, Join Bands, Not Gangs received prime-time news coverage on the SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation). Since then, the team has been inundated with requests to start programs in at-risk communities across South Africa.


Within two months of the song launch, they had received donations of new and second-hand musical instruments worth R60 000. This included guitars, drums, keyboards, an organ, trumpets, percussion and woodwinds.


First School Handover

On 09th October 2018, this first batch of instruments were handed over to Scottsdene High School in the presence of government, business, media and community leaders.

First Gang Program

By middle of October 2018, a second music program was launched with the donation of another batch of instruments, in one of the sub-areas in Scottsdene at a small local church. Here, Karien and Mario teaches and spends time with the local gang members twice a week.

A second Gang Program, in a rival territory, launched in January 2019.

In The News

Key Values and Goals

Crowdsourcing Music Instruments

Through our media campaigns, we crowd-source music instruments from retail stores, business and private donors. We collect, repair where necessary, allocate and distribute them as part of the local music supply chain.

Community Relations

We work closely with the communities we serve in a hands-on, ground up way. We identify the “right” areas to assist via strong relationships with community leaders and youth groups that inform us of the resources they already have (e.g. venues, teachers, talent ) – and the unmet needs they have to start fully fledged youth bands.

Local First

We have planted the first seeds within the community of Scottsdene, in close proximity to us. As part of the larger Kraaifontein area, it ranked 7th in South Africa’s national crime hotspots as per the official police statistics for 2017/2018. While gang violence has consumed the lives of youth over recent years, we help bring a new pathway of hope.

Documentary Evidence

We are documenting our journey from humble beginnings and capturing our story as it grows. By sharing our progress regularly, we also provide accountability to our patrons of the way their instruments and donations are making an impact. We are also excited about meeting and finding the interesting mix of people, stories and places along the way!

Continuous Feedback

We try to update our stakeholders regularly via meetings and social media. Patrons can follow our journey and look out to spot their instruments. Just imagine your “first bright-blue bass guitar” now being played by a prison band member or a future Abe Laborial that got empowered to walk in his or her destiny due to your donation.


We are currently working on an innovative branding, numbering and tracking system by which each instrument will have a serial number and traceable code.

Changed Lives

This is our ultimate goal, to see a reduction in gangsterism, community transformation and greater potential for the future of our youth. And it’s already starting to happen.

Join Bands, Not Gangs is a beautiful initiative. We as the Western Cape Government supports them fully in their effort.


– Mayor of the city of Cape Town, Mr. Dan Plato

Our company has been collaborating with Join Bands not Gangs since August 2018. After seeing them on national television, it was a logical decision to join the movement. I could sense the positive energy straight away. Karien and Mario are a great team. We support Join Bands not Gangs 100%.


– Hans Heuer, Musikhaus W. Heuer, Stellenbosch

Get Involved

7 Ways. 1 Vision.

Donate an instrument directly

The more instruments we receive, the more we can hand out to enrich more lives faster. Plain and simple! Therefore, if you have an instrument no longer in use (but in working order), please consider donating it to us and we will arrange for collection in and beyond Cape Town. No matter where in the world you are, someone is always coming to Cape Town!

Donate via your favourite music store

If you do not have an instrument to donate directly, but would still like to assist us, you are welcome to provide a voucher to your favourite music store. Alternatively, we can send you a list a local music stores to purchase an instrument from and they will hand it over to us on your behalf.

Sponsor a ‘school package’ or ‘gang package’

Having a complete ‘School Package’ of instruments is the most ideal way to start each program. We are reaching out to corporates, government and NGOs to partner with us by sponsoring a complete package or parts thereof. This can include anything from 5-12 instruments. Contact us to find out more.

Cash Donations

You are welcome to make a cash contribution towards a school- or gang package directly with us or via a music store. We will gladly assist you to engage with a musical equipment supplier that will handle your order timeously, cost-effectively and honorably.

Help cover our overheads

As with any well-run company, we have overheads costs to manage the day to day operations like stationery for teaching, instrument repairs, collection and delivery logistics, media and communication, salaries, transport, petrol, annuities and auditing. We control costs in the most reasonable way to make each rand stretch furthest.

Adopt Us as a Corporate Social Investment Programme

Join Bands, Not Gangs is perfectly positioned to partner with organisations seeking to make a visible, lasting and exponential impact. We are a socially responsible partner in the areas of music education, creativity, youth upliftment, leadership and civic empowerment. We believe our work, with corporate and government agency support, will have a lasting impact on our city and future generations.

Volunteer your time

We welcome local and international volunteers willing to teach or supervise music classes for 2 hours at a time, once or twice a week. If this is something you would like to get involved in, kindly contact us for more information!

Get In Touch

For general info, comments and questions, please contact us at

For media bookings, inquiries or donations, please phone Karien via 071 174 2373

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