The Buskaid Soweto String Project was established by Rosemary Nalden in January 1997 in response to requests from the local Diepkloof community. From humble beginnings it currently comprises 12 teachers and approximately 100 students ranging in age from four to 30, all from poor backgrounds. The Buskaid Music School, which consists of seven studios, a music library and a large rehearsal room, was opened in early 1999 and is a thriving hub of activity in the community. The school has released several CDs, starting in 1998 with an album of Christmas Carols. These were followed by Soweto Dance (2000), Tshwaranang (2003), Buskaid Live!, and Crazy (2009). Soweto Strings, Mark Kidel’s award-winning documentary about Buskaid which has been shown world-wide, also features Buskaid’s 2007 Paris concert.
Since 2002, Buskaid has assisted six gifted students to gain full fee scholarships at prestigious music colleges in the UK. In 2002 Buskaid launched two innovative programmes: a teacher-training programme for a group of senior Buskaid students and an 'in-house' instrument repair project. Over the past 15 years, the school has produced a string ensemble with a formidable reputation for high standards of performance and a sophisticated grasp of musical style. They have performed with top international classical musicians, often for prestigious audiences such as former Presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, members of the British royal family and the First Lady of the USA, Michelle Obama. To date the young musicians have, through such events, generated well over R3 million for the Buskaid Trust.