Our Arts Academy was established in 2022 with the intention to help our youth gain confidence, develop creativity, and teach valuable skills. The arts have powerful therapeutic value in facilitating healing to those who have experienced trauma, and have also been proven to improve academic achievement, spark innovation, and has strengthened our economy.
We have launched two choirs under the direction of a professional and accomplished musician from Church Unlimited, with a heart for disadvantaged children. Marimba classes, which began in 2021, are continuing in four of our communities. During our weekly dance and monthly visual arts classes, both teachers, who are also members of Church Unlimited, weave Bible stories and spiritual truths into their lessons. Drama sessions are taking place in various centres, with a focus on helping children express themselves and work through the wounds of their past in a safe environment.
We are grateful for the involvement of a drama professor at the University of Cape Town, who has a passion for celebrating South African language, culture and heritage through creative storytelling with children. He made it possible for sixty of our youth to attend a special music and drama concert inside the Sudwala Caves in 2022 in celebration of “Africa month,” and our gumboot dancers and one of our marimba bands had the opportunity to perform on stage inside the caves in 2023!
We showcased our youths’ talents at our Arts Showcase during our AGM in 2022 and 2023, and the performances were spectaculour!
The children look forward to these activities and are already growing in confidence, skills, and self-expression. We hope to grow our Academy in 2024 to reach even more of the vulnerable youth in the communities we work in and plan to record and release an original song this year!