A pivotal force in transformation through music, Kim Matthews studied the piano from a young age and did exams through Trinity College of London. She studied jewelry design at the Durban Technikon and worked as a goldsmith for 25 years.
In 2004 she joined the KwaZulu-Natal Youth Wind Band’s committee and was made Chairperson in 2005. When faced with the decision of canceling a tour to the UK to visit Leeds, one of Durban’s Sister Cities only three weeks prior to the tour, Matthews raised the R600 000 required and acquired the band a place at one of the biggest music festivals in Wales. They also performed in Cambridge at a renowned youth music festival. The band’s Conductor and CEO of the Durban Music School, Werner Dannewitz, was so impressed that he asked Matthews to work as the school’s fundraiser.
Matthews has built up the KwaZulu-Natal Youth Wind Band into one of the best training ensembles in South Africa. The band’s Development Programme encourages young black musicians to audition, covers the cost of membership fees, sheet music, uniforms, transport and gives them a full music bursary to the Durban Music School to receive the training they need. Matthews ensured that 400 of the school’s 450 children are on full bursaries and has transformed the KwaZulu-Natal Youth Wind Band to reflect the diversity of our South African population.
She is the CEO of non-profit organisation, The Paw-Paw Foundation through which she has raised funds for music bursaries for orphans and vulnerable children who come from rural areas close to Durban and is involved in various projects to bring music to schools.
Her work demonstrates that transformation through the arts will always be a force for good in society if approached from the correct perspective.