The performing arts are extremely empowering. They not only provide children and young people with enjoyment and fulfilling activities and constructive recreational opportunities, but also have powerful therapeutic benefits such as building character, self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-discipline.
They build cultural bridges, unifying people across boundaries of language, culture, ability and gender. They have the power to unite groups and mobilize community involvement towards the improvement of quality of life, social healing and affirmation of human dignity.
Participation in meaningful after-school activities helps to keep children and youth off the streets, making them less vulnerable to involvement in gangs, crime and substance abuse.
These activities promote a commitment to artistic creativity and foster an appreciation for healthy living.
The performing and visual arts as school subjects have historically been limited to advantaged schools, where equipment, instruments, educators and other resources were available. In addition many learners at these schools have access to private tuition, personal instruments and independent examinations. The majority of South African learners do not currently have access to high quality specialized arts education. The existing schools in Hout Bay are not well equipped to offer arts subjects of high quality due to limited human and material resources, inadequate time allocation and unmanageable class sizes.
Jikeleza currently teaches over 300 children from these marginalized communities on a weekly basis, has a staff of 19 and now includes marimbas and drumming as well as offering quality tuition in African, Spanish, contemporary dance and classical ballet. The levels of tuition offered are of a standard that will equip talented and dedicated students to secure employment in the performing arts. Trainees have already been placed with Jazzart Contemporary Dance Company, La Rosa Spanish Dance Company, Ikapa Dance Theatre and at the University of Cape Town School of Dance. These trainees are appointed from within the beneficiary communities with the aim of becoming qualified teachers within these communities or securing professional employment within the performing arts. Wherever possible jobs such as driving, studio maintenance, making and maintaining of costumes are created for members of the communities served by Jikeleza. The holistic development of the child is emphasized and the program includes counselling and foster-care placement where necessary.
The vibrancy of the young performers and the professional levels of tuition offered have led to the Jikeleza Youth Company being in great demand for corporate performances which, in turn, have enabled the project to achieve a significant level of self-sustainability. Jikeleza has also worked in close collaboration with most other Cape Town dance companies enabling youth from vastly different backgrounds to interact meaningfully and to develop a deeper respect and understanding of one another’s cultures.
Jikeleza currently covers 8 various programs at different venues. We’ve selected venues which are not only accessible, but central and convenient for the children of the communities. Our programs encompass a broad spectrum thus allowing growth and full potential to shine through. All facilitators are qualified in their various fields. Our programs include Spanish Dance, African Dance, Contemporary, Ballet, African Drumming and Marimba, Hip Hop.
Artistic Workshops – Conducted by outside qualified teachers. These workshops span over a 3-5 day period and are very intensive. The objectives here are to expose the kids to different teaching methods, get them out of their comfort zones, prepare them for tertiary level and also afford them the opportunity of working with professionals. These workshops have proven to be very successful and are definitely a vital part of their development. The age groups are between 10-18. This comprises of between 75-100 children per workshop. which accommodates between 25-35 teens at a time, and creative workshops, where attendance normally exceeds 100 children. These are subject to funding availability.
Jikeleza hopes to embark and expand, by reaching and touching countless more lives in the Hout Bay community as well as the greater Cape Town area i.e Cape Flats.