The College of Magic, Cape Town’s only magical arts organisation, has conjured up a fundraising campaign to help its new students, in particular, those from disadvantaged areas, pursue their dreams of magical training online during the national pandemic.
The College, like many NPOs and similar organisations, had to adapt its educational offering in 2020 – moving from weekly Saturday morning lessons at its spellbinding campus to teaching 200 students via online platforms including Zoom and WhatsApp.
On Saturday 6 February 2021, for the first time in four decades, the College had to forgo its traditional in-person tour of its mysterious Victorian Manor in Claremont as well as the much-anticipated first wand receiving ceremony and recital of the secret Magician’s Oath for its incoming Course One class of 2021. Instead, through the magic of technology, more than 20 students began their magical training online.
Young Lulo Stofile (10) from Old Crossroads, Nyanga, got his first peek behind the wizard’s curtain by watching a virtual tour of the College of Magic and meeting his new instructor and classmates via a Zoom call on his mother’s cellphone.
With limited data supplied by the College of Magic, Stofile and his fellow new students were whisked through the organisation’s premises virtually – exploring Africa’s largest magical museum, South Africa’s only brick and mortar Magic Shop, the multipurpose Imagination Centre, the Magic Lab and theatres before a special meet and greet with their new instructors and each other.
Stofile dreams of being a full-time professional magician who travels all over the world when he grows up:
“In my township, there aren’t many things to do or to learn for young people like me. Everyone else enjoys playing soccer but I love learning to perform magic. When I first saw my teacher’s son perform his magic act at my school last year, I knew magic is what I wanted to do. Attending the College of Magic is my dream come true and I hope I can continue to do so online until I am able to experience the wonder of this unique institution in person!”, says the excited aspiring young magician.
Should Stofile be able to continue his magical education with the generous assistance of the public’s donations, he will be following in the beguiling footsteps of College of Magic graduate, SA’s Got Talent finalist and international performer Olwethu Dyantyi.
Joining the College in 2005 as a student funded by the Magic in Community programme, a College of Magic community outreach initiative , and going on to become the 2015 South African Stage Magic Champion, Dyantyi is now an instructor at the College of Magic. Teaching the art of magic online, thanks to COVID-19 and the national lockdown, provides unique challenges for the instructor.
“Teaching magic, which is a very interactive art form , online is very tricky. Lessons need to be hands-on and it is particularly frustrating when I cannot be there to assist my students physically. Having said that,I’m very impressed with how our current students adapted to their online magical training in 2020, exceeding expectations with their creative acts and dedication to practicing their techniques. I’m looking forward to seeing how our new students grow in this new magical learning environment”, says Dyantyi.
One of the advantages of hosting magic lessons online is increasing the student intake and the College of Magic is hopeful that the fundraising campaign can assist with this:
“Many prospective students do not have access to online facilities and here at the College of Magic, our voluntary team of instructors and staff are helping these students achieve their dream magic training through devices, data and connectivity ideas. We’re appealing to the public who would like to enable one of these disadvantaged youngsters and help them to light their flame of hope to go to our ‘Back-A-Buddy’ page and contribute to ‘connecting’ one lucky young magician. Please help us to keep the magic alive!”, says David Gore, director of the College of Magic.
You can help keep Lulo Stofile and others connected to their magical lessons and fulfill their enchanting dreams:
The College of Magic is calling on the public to wave their magic wands and donate to its ongoing Keep The Magic Alive fundraising campaign via Back-A-Buddy.
The funds raised will help to cover the costs of Lulo and his charming fellow students’ virtual magical education, including providing data to access their online lessons, the production of course materials and props to help them practise their magic at home and transport to and from smaller venues in their communities for group practice sessions until the national lockdown regulations allow for in-person lessons at the College of Magic in Claremont.