Thursday, August 19, 2010

An End to an Adventure... But Beginning of a Venture...

By Thireshni Sanasy

Eugenia assissting learners with
their poetry.
24 year old Eugenia Machado of Caracas, Venezuela whose month-long sabbatical at Art for Humanity has unfortunately come to an end is saddened that her time with us was so short.

Eugenia believes in One on one
attention with the student.
Machado, who was a representative of Artfully Aware which is an international non- profit organization that focuses on community development and international arts education, spent two weeks in South Africa working with Art For Humanity, before going to Swaziland where she worked for the Swaziland Theatre for Children and People.

Machado then returned to AFH for another two weeks, where she had the opportunity to attend and report on the first School Banner Workshop for the year at Ogwini Comprehensive Technical High School in Umlazi.

Eugenia (2nd Left), with members of AFH
and Ogwini Comprehensive Technical School.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

School Inspired by Art Workshop...

By Thireshni Sanasy

AFH hosted its first School Banner workshop for the year at Ogwini Technical High School in Umlazi. The workshops which consist of AFH team members (artists and poets) heading to the schools and teaching the learners about creativity through art and poetry, proved to be an absolute success at Ogwini Technical High School.

Nqobile Mbambo presenting his work.

The class which consisted of +/- 40 grade 11 and 12 learners was throughout the workshop exciting and creative. Students were not only attentive when AFH Director Jan Jordaan spoke to them, but also were inspired by the words of poet, Topaz, who showed them that art comes in many different forms. Many of the students agreed that the workshops are beneficial and in the little time given had shown them how to bring out their own creativity and learn about not only art but poetry aswel. Grade 11 learner, Nqobile Mbambo said, “I think that this workshop is very supporting towards the learners it helps us so that we can show our talent and also so that we can get more opportunities in the art industry.”

AFH had also previously placed a banner on the schools building. The banner showcased an art piece by Gabisile Nkosi called "Sisterhood" and poem “Dancing with Angels” by Mavis Smallberg. 
Gabilisile Nkosi's "Dancing With Angels"
When Director, Jan Jordaan spoke to the learners about the art piece, many became so engrossed in the unfortunate story of Women Abuse, that during the workshop they decided to draw and write about the tribulations that Women still face today. Grade 12 learner, Boysie Bhengu said, “My inspiration for my own art piece came from the art on the banner, my art piece shows a single mother who raised her child with no help, all alone, and how painfully she has been abused, where she was left unmarried with a child. Her tears show the sadness and pain she feels. My poem is based on my drawing and I really appreciate everything I have learnt in this workshop today.”

When the learners had complete their drawing and poetry they took to the floor, to show the rest of the class what they had drawn and read out their poetry. The AFH team members watched in awe as these young students showed how talented they are, and how inspiration from one art piece can lead to so many other unique pieces.

Monday, August 16, 2010

‘Dialogue among Civilisation’ Exhibition news

By Angelica Mannie

Part of the curatorial concept,
an installation by
Artist Mondli Mdanda
After much planning and conceptualizing the opening exhibition of “Dialogue Among Civilization” , a project under the patronage of UNESCO was held on 21st March 2010 at the Durban Art Gallery, Durban Mayor, Obed Mlaba, welcomed delegates, artists, poets, and dignitaries and Justice Albie Sachs warmly addressed the audience before opening the exhibition, Sachs proudly exclaimed that “Reconciling a nation, creating a new South Africa, discovering your pride , integrity and creativity, lies at the heart of the exhibition of “Dialogue Among Civilisation”. Dieter Zettler who is the chairperson of the committee in the partnership between Durban and Bremen sister cities, warmly addressed the crowd and applauded the impressive art and poetry. He congratulated AFH on yet another successful project. Ms. Iratxe Momoitio Astorkia, Director of the Guernica Peace Museum in Spain, presented Professor Nqabomzi Gawe, Vice Chancellor of DUT, with the Guernica Peace Museum award for the DUT’s continuous efforts in promoting Human Rights and peace among all its stake holders. The award contained a leaf plate which symbolises the oak tree from where the earliest elected Basque representatives gathered. Prof Gawe thanked AFH for being persistent in their endeavour in continuing the work in advocating Human rights and Social justice through the arts and thanked Mrs. Astorkia for her ongoing interest and support for AFH and its work. Jan Jordaan, Director of AFH, explained that ‘Dialogue among Civilisations’ involved collaboration between artists and

People viewing the Exhibition.
Iratxe Momoitio Astorkia presents the “Oak Leaf” to Prof Nqabomzi Gawe
poets representing 35 countries including those that who participated in the 2006 Soccer World Cup as well as six of the Durban Sister Cities. The participants created work on the theme of identity, land, object and belief. The exhibition aimed to elicit and challenge the South African public’s views on xenophobia, racism and refugees. He further mentioned that the art and poetry will be displayed on billboards in communities and on banners in schools around South Africa in order to inspire South Africans with the ethical values associated with art and poetry.

Jenny Stretton acknowledged the sponsors involved in making the exhibition possible during her vote of thanks and also paid tribute to everyone that “lent e a helping hand”. It is hoped that these two events, will not only contribute towards a positive cultural climate for visitors to South Africa attending the Soccer World Cup but also visibly re-establish South Africa as a leader in the promotion of human rights and social justice on the continent. Pertinent to this great event on African soil and in a time when South Africans are experiencing problematic xenophobic attitudes towards foreigners as well as battling with incidents of racism within the South African society, this particular period when an influx of international delegates and tourists will be present in our country, AFH hopes that the spirit of ‘Ubuntu’ will be rekindled and taken back to other countries.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Poetry with a Rhythm

By Thireshni Sanasy

Slam Poet – Topaz, reciting his poetry at the AFH School Banner workshop
at Ogwini Technical High School.

23 year old Mzamo Jiyeza (Topaz) is an independent poet specialising in Slam poetry (poetry done with a beat and rhythm) and musician who is currently involved with the Art for Humanity school banner workshops. 

Topaz who grew up in Mtubatuba, was a bookworm from a young age, and says that hip hope music has made him what he is today. “I grew up in a family, where my uncle played alot of Hip Hop music, and from a young age I started listening to the lyrics and wanting to know what the words mean, by 1997 I could rap and by the age of 13, I was able to write my own words.” Topaz believes that poets are born and not made, and therefore is completely self-taught with no tertiary education in poetry or music. He adds that his love for rap music is what gave him an understanding of words.

Topaz attended the School banner workshop at Ogwini Technical  School on the 11 August with the AFH team, recited his poetry to the enthusiastic students. He believes that the learners are not the only ones who have gained knowledge from the workshop, and remarked that children have lessons for older people to learn from, and that you teach them and they in return teach you back. “I get to learn myself and grow myself, it’s all about giving back,” he said.

He attended Mlokothwa High School, but says that it is art that he attributes his success to, “Art has saved me, I am an art activist and Hip Hop activist, I got to learn art naturally, and began starting organisations to help children realise their artistic talents,” he said.  Having lived on the streets for a short period of time Topaz said, “I am not ashamed of it, it has been a definite influence on my aims to assist street children.”

Apart from being apart of the AFH School Banner Workshops Topaz is also signed to ‘Love Child’ and is apart of ‘ The Network’, which uses music as a source to connect people and which also runs workshops for children and artists to learn about art and music.

A passionate Topaz believes that art is limitless and it has definitely become his life. “I believe in art, because I am art...”