The Banjo Bringing Goodwill to Its Motherland in South Africa

by Jamie Deering

With a common desire to give back to communities our lives bring us in contact with, starting in 2013 Mumford & Sons and Deering Banjos have brought a unique charity campaign to the cities and towns of Mumford & Sons tour. In the next leg of this campaign we arrive at a continent dear to the banjo's heart, and the land of South Africa! Beginning Jan 29th, 2016 Mumford & Sons will be playing in Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria.

In the spirit of giving to the communities welcoming them, custom one of a kind banjos have been made for each of these South African Cities and will be signed by the band the day of their first Cape Town show, and auctioned off online with proceeds going to human needs charities based in each respective city, each are described below. True to the vibrant culture of this country these banjos bear the colors of the South African Flag! You can see the full auction and participate here.

SACharityBanjos In sequence, the Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria Banjos!


The first of these is the Cape Town Banjo auction, which goes live at 6pm Friday, Jan 29th South African time! These are the auction times for each of the South Africa banjos:

  • Cape Town - Jan 29th - Feb 5th
  • Durban - Feb 1st - 8th
  • Pretoria - Feb 5th - 11th

Africa being the ancestral birth place of the banjo as an instrument it is beyond wonderful to see that these auctions benefit the people of this land, and real human needs faced every day in this region of he world.

The South Africa banjos are each one totally unique and one of a kind. They are resonator back banjos crafted with a hard rock American maple neck and violin grade maple rim, all stained the vibrant colors of the South African National Flag. Modeled after Deering’s  Goodtime Two banjo they are remarkably light, weighing only 5 ½ pounds; about the same as an acoustic guitar. The drum head of the banjo bears the wings logo of Mumford & Sons 2015/2016 tour and is personally signed by each member of Mumford & Sons. And to top it off the peghead bears the shape of South Africa and the city the banjo is for engraved into the wood! This banjo is American made, right down to the custom banjo head made by Remo Drums in California.

The charities benefitting in each city are:

Cape Town The Cape Town Charity Banjo

The Homestead Projects for Street Children, established in 1982, provides outreach, stabilization, residential care, family reunification and job creation programs to children living, working and begging on the streets of Cape Town, as well as prevention and early intervention programs to chronically neglected, extremely vulnerable and street connected children found in surrounding street children communities of origin. The Homestead Projects include an Intake Centre for 35 boys in Woodstock that successfully transition over 100 children a year away from the street, a large modern and beautiful Child and Youth Care Centre (Children’s Home) in Khayelitsha that provides specialized therapeutic and transitional residential care and education for up to 75 boys, and Homestead drop-in centres in Manenberg, Valhalla Park, Woodstock and Khayelitsha that together work with over 300 high risk children and their families each week. The Homestead strives to get and keep children off the street, restructure their shattered lives and empower children’s futures away from street life. This is why we are so thrilled to have the Cape Town Banjo Charity Auction go to benefit all they do and accomplish!

Durban Banjo
The Durban Charity Banjo

God’s Golden Acre is a non-profit, non-governmental organization based near Durban, South Africa. It was founded in 1993 by Heather Reynolds in her own home in Wartburg, where she and her husband Patrick took care of 35 children and also started the outreach programme, supporting granny- and child-headed households. Through their child sponsorship program children receive food parcels and school fees so they can continue their education and are able to stay within their extended families and in their communities. In their residential care centre, Gods Golden Acre Khayelihle, children with special needs are placed in their foster care centre where they are cared for in a loving, caring and nurturing environment. Now after 18 years it has grown into an effective project with a well-proven and credible track record of working within rural communities, alongside Government officials and Traditional leaders, with elected committees. Heather continues to lead the project with passion and dedication.

“I have been aware of the heroic and compassionate work being done by Heather Reynolds and her dedicated team at God's Golden Acre for a number of years. Heather's role in fighting the AIDS pandemic in our country places her as an historic figure in the story of the new South Africa.” - Nelson Mandela.

We are proud to have the Durban Banjo Charity Auction go to benefit the life and hope Gods Golden Acre brings back to those it helps!

The Pretoria Charity Banjo

The Potato Foundation, based in Pretoria, South Africa, was established in February 2007. The clever name of the organisation was adopted around the growth concept of a potato. Giving is very much like a potato - its roots are hidden and the growing effect thereof is not visible until the potato is harvested. The Potato Foundation aims to be exactly that - the roots within their community sustaining and nurturing assistance to uplift and empower children and give them an opportunity to take their rightful place within society. This is where volunteer skills, aptitude and time can contribute to the greater good in the communities. This is a very effective and sustainable way skills can manifest and to see the change in society, with the helping hands and guidance of The Potato Foundation.

The Potato Foundation’s Mission Statement is to offer integrity, honesty, the utmost professionalism and strength in God in all their services and decisions. To be a functional link in society, connecting neglected and disadvantaged community sectors and the greater social citizenry, in order to provide appropriate opportunities for all to define and address their needs - whether it is to become involved as a volunteer, or to gain support and assistance from The Potato Foundation, with the focus on the neglected and forgotten children of our society. They also believe in the principle of giving fishing rods rather than fishes, as in the old Chinese saying: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Just imagine if we can contribute to kids at a young age already? Their mission statement and actions to improve their community, and lives of the children in it, are inspirational. We are thrilled to have The Potato Foundation as the beneficiary of the Pretoria Charity Banjo Auction!

May you be the one to bring home one of these magnificent banjos and help incredibly worthy causes at the same time!

You can participate here!


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