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Arts Project

ARTS PROJECT

ITHEMBA LABANTU ARTS PROJECT

Over 200 children attend the arts program on a daily basis. We believe in working with children from an early age. Therefore, we run a weekly art program in our pre- and primary school. But the majority of the programs are run as an after school program between 4p.m.  and 6p.m.  The aim of the programs is to give the children something to do that they love and enjoy and to create a place where the feel loved and accepted. We pursue an holistic approach to education and use art as a tool to build their self-esteem, develop their presentation skills and help them to learn how to integrate into a team. We furthermore provide them with a tool to express the challenges their faced with and a ways to deal with them.

We believe the value of Arts in our community is of paramount importance as many of our children come from broken homes. Many of them face challenging situations such as alcohol and drug abuse by either family or members of the community around them.

Through our arts programs our children are able to develop self-esteem, build confidence and excel in school.

Besides the social aspect we obviously equip them with artistic skills.

Through our arts programs and classes, we give children and youth individual creativity platforms and teach them to understand that divergent voices triumph over conformity; this is evident when putting on plays, musicals, playing marimbas or creating dances.

When we experience extraordinary talent we foster it and offer the individual support to take him or her to a professional level.

Our Art Program is divided into several categories. The classes mentioned below will be the ones mostly benefiting from a possible funding through the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sports.

Dance

iThemba Labantu’s dance classes expose the children to various styles and forms of dance, like African traditional dance, contemporary dance, Hip hop and free-style. The Jazzart Dance Theatre supports us in this effort by once a week offering contemporary dance classes.

African dances classes are the most popular classes and we would like to extent them in order to accommodate more children. African traditional dance encourages children to learn more about their cultural heritage and practices and helps them to build their own identity.

An additional benefit of all dance classes is that is keeps the children fit and provides them with a space to move around freely which they can do hardly anywhere in the overcrowded and crime-ridden township.

We furthermore offer our children the opportunity to attend classes on Saturdays which are taking places externally. Those classes, namely the “Sibonele dance project”, a music class by the UCT department of ethnomusicology, a UCT dance class by Maxwell Rani and “Dance for all”, help them to develop their talents further and open a door into a professional artists network.

Excursions to art shows at the Artscape and the Baxter theatre expose them to the professional dance world.

Regular performance opportunities give the children a platform to showcase their newly acquired skills and give us a platform to assess the knowledge they gained.

Drama

Drama is an important tool for preparing students to live and work in a world that is increasingly team orientated rather than hierarchical. Among other things drama classes helps students develop tolerance and empathy. Our lessons focus on developing children that are innovative, tolerant of others and creative in problem solving. Children are encouraged to create plays, write monologues and explore the world of imagination. Drama classes run every day of the week and are essential in shaping our children and preparing them for the world of tomorrow.

Film & TV

We all know that, Film and TV influences communities and the minds of our youth. There are so many avenues that our children can follow after passing their Matric. We recognize the genre as one of the most influential mediums of our time. In this class children are taught several disciplines: Script writing, Screen writing, Method acting etc.

The skills they learn in these classes can aid them already today in their day to day life.

Their accomplishments in acting for example will help at school, when it comes to public speaking, giving presentation and in general giving them confidence.

Music

In our music department we offer classes in three disciplines, namely

  • Marimba – three times a week
  • Steelpan – once a week
  • Brass – twice a week
  • Choir – once a week
  • Piano classes – daily
  • Music theory – once a week

 

We all understand that  indigenous African music coexists with the music of other cultures and that both play a significant role in shaping our young minds.

Therefore we have included both – Western and African music – in our program.

Marimbas serve as a medium to teach indigenous music, while the brass and steelpan classes concentrate on western music.

The repertoire of our choir accommodates both, traditional and modern songs.

It is widely believed that musical training at a young age accelerates brain development. The stimulation of the children’s minds through music is therefore extremely beneficial for their academic performance.

In addition to instructing them in various musical skills, we make sure that the children get opportunities to exhibit what they have learned through external performances.

This builds confidents and strengthens their knowledge of being valued.

Visual Arts

Once a week the children get exposed to arts and crafts through our visual arts class. They learn various drawing techniques which fosters the development of their fine motor skills. It gives them the opportunity to experiment with various materials and textures which enables them to develop into open-minded individuals. The classes encourage them to discover their own creativity and they learn how to express their feelings. Coming from overcrowded living space it gives them a space to calm down and to connect with their inner selves. The creation of a tangible piece of art work gives them a sense of achievement and builds their self-esteem.

This class is furthermore used as a therapeutic avenue for our children.

They are often not willing or able to divulge information about the challenges they face in their daily lives, might it be problems in their family, at school, in their general surrounding or otherwise. Through these classes they seem willing to draw, paint or sculpt thoughts or imaginations and we gain insight into the issues that threaten their wellbeing.

Regular outing to art exhibition and gallery’s will inspire them to new ideas which can be implemented back in class.

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