Staffing of the program has grown and changed dramatically over the years. Instructors at the Free State Musicon have always been part of the Mangaung String Program, but there was a high turnover for the first 10 years. This turnover can be attributed primarily to other job opportunities in bigger cities. The program has had the benefit of specialist instructors, Tilla Henkins (cello), Peter Guy (double bass) Derick Ochse (violin UFS), Francois Henkins (violin UFS) and Elspeth Neary (violin UFS). But without the group teachers who introduce children to the violin and the firm groundwork they lay, there would be no one for the specialists to teach. From 2007 former pupils, starting with Japie Ngqondi and Moeketsi Khang joined the program as instructors on an hourly basis. They were joined in 2008 by Tsholofelo Sereeco, Gift Hess and Tsholofelo Tshikare and others followed in the subsequent years. The aim of this intern program was to give young people who had just finished their matric exams a year to decide on their future course. For some who were unable to find work in the formal sector this became a lifeline to support themselves until they were able to find full time employment. In August 2012, the Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation absorbed 4 of the part time instructors as full time Junior Instructors at the Musicon. This has been a major step in stabilizing the program for the future. An interesting aspect of some of the staff is the ability to perform various jobs in the program. Gift Hess and Peter Guy each drive one of the busses and give violin tuition. Amanda Synman maintains much of the administrative side of the program, teaches violin and drives one of the busses. Since 2001 the University of the Free State has paid for hourly ad-hoc violin lecturers and then seconded them to the program. This arrangement has been renewed for the past 14 years. This of course gave the program access to skilled, experienced professional violin instructors for the most committed and promising pupils in the program.

Meet the Team


Peter Guy
program manager


Amanda Snyman
administrative manager


Boipelo Galeboe
administrato/violin instructor


Francois Henkins
senior violin instructor


Elspeth Neary
senior violin instructor


Tilla Henkins
senior cello instructor


Andile Samela


Chonelle Smith
violin instructor/ repairs


Tsholofelo Tshikare
violin instructor


Tsholofelo Serecco
violin instructor


Japie Nqondi
violin instructor


Gift Hess
violin instructor


John Minnaar
cello instructor


Keikantseng Lesenyego
administrator/ violin instructor


Thakane Mabope
violin instructor

Noel Khumalo
senior piano instructor

Mpho Thito
violin instructor

Sherwen Tshitlho

Victoria Seekoei
violin instructor

Lofentse Lekalake
violin instructor

Sehle Mosole
violin instructor