Sunday, November 20, 2011

Art & Social Justice School Workshops: Sthokozile High

By Njabulo Ngobese

The last and final stop for the Art and Social Justice Workshops was the Clermont based high school Sthokozile which came highly prepared and excited about the AFH initiative packing an overwhelming 50 students. With the absence of Art for Humanity’s director Jan Jordaan and Human Rights Commission representative Eugene Raphalane, Lungile Dlamini was the head lady in charge as she wasted no time introducing her colleagues to the eager young minds of Sthokozile High. An additional introduction by the school principal as well as his warm welcome gave us the go ahead to proceed with the day’s activities.

A trip to the AFH banner which was located at the school’s wall outdoors, presented the first task for the students. Topaz asked the kids to analyse the art and read the poem on the banner simultaneously. After the completion of the task, the pupils headed back to the classroom where they began engaging in their creative process. Drawing a picture accompanied by a poem that represents the image, Sthokozile’s highly dedicated pupils wasted no time in living out their passion. Wendy Mthembu, Siyanda Ngcobo, Sanele Vezi were one of the students that displayed great talent in their work as their poetry and drawing skills caught the eye of the AFH staff.

Sthokozile students all appeared to be excited about the workshop as they shared a common message of having AFH return again in the near future. Maneli Ndlovu who occupies the Arts and Culture post at the school spoke of some of the challenges they face when it comes to the arts. Lack of resources and facilities to house any art related activities has to some degree demotivated students from participating in art programs. It was however unfortunate that the workshop could only house 50 students with a few more that couldn’t be granted access because of space issues. The presentations of the work done by the Sthokozile group proved to be quite a treat as it combined love, pain & hope both in drawings and in poetry. The experience was quite memorable.

Refreshments were then served and the highlight of the workshop took centre stage. Topaz doing what he does best, delivered one of his best performances yet. His piece received a warm standing ovation from Sthokozile. It was a perfect closing to what has proved to be a series of highly insightful workshops.

Artist: Este Macleod (Boy)
Poet: Zandra Bezuidenhout (A Child Dreaming)
(Dialogue Amongst Civilization Catalogue)

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