THE NGO NETWORK ALLIANCE PROJECT - an online community for Zimbabwean activists  
 View archive by sector


Back to Index

Isiphethu / Chisipiti / The spring

January 10, 2011

The New Year has started with a bang for CHIPAWO. No time to ease into it, no extra week to recover from Christmas and New Year festivities. Rehearsals started on 3rd January for CHIPAWO staff, selected Youth Programme assistant directors and twenty in-school children and youth.

"We had a long discussion around what to name our exchange and after many ideas we would like to offer 'isiPhethu - an exchange between Flatfoot Dance Company and CHIPAWO - 'isiPhethu' is a Zulu word which roughly means 'we all drink together from the same bore-hole' and is an idiom for sharing and living together in harmony ... we feel this is a really lovely way of thinking about our exchange together! " This is the way that Flat Foot Dance company from Durban in South Africa chose to explain their choice of the Zulu word, 'isiphethu', 'chisipiti' in Shona, which means 'a spring', for the forthcoming exchange with CHIPAWO.

Chipawo hosts Flatfoot Dance Company from Durban, South Africa

The New Year is kicking off in an exciting and promising way for CHIPAWO, an arts education for development and employment organisation, based in Harare, that works with children and young people in different parts of Zimbabwe. In an exchange programme supported by the Royal Norwegian Embassy and the Dutch organisation, HIVOS, CHIPAWO will be hosting a group of children from the Flatfoot Dance Company from Durban, South Africa, between 9th and 16th January.

The programme gets off the ground with performances for each other of presentations that the two groups will have prepared for their exchange. This will be followed by a week of workshops together, in which the children will exchange ideas and share the arts and culture of their two countries as well as prepare a public performance. This will take place on 14th January at 6pm at the Zimbabwe College of Music.

This is not all. The children of Flatfoot will be the guests of the City of Harare and be taken on a guided tour of the city. They will also have other performances and encounters with schoolchildren and the general public. The highlight of their stay in Zimbabwe will of course be a visit to Great Zimbabwe.

For their presentation at the workshop Flatfoot has been working on a piece based on the theme of how to combat xenophobia. Starting with their own experiences of xenophobia, the children have developed a music, dance and poetry performance. CHIPAWO in its turn will present a performance entitled "A Dangerous Animal", a piece on HIV/AIDS, orphans and child labour. This work is drawn from CHIPAWO's work with children aimed at empowering them with life skills and information relating to the girl child, child abuse and children's rights.

It is hoped that these two groups of children, from Zimbabwe and South Africa, will meet and relate to each other in discussion, dance, song and drama and that they will begin to challenge each other on questions related to who and what constitutes a 'neighbour' and a 'friend'.

Flatfoot Dance Company is a community-based project in the rural and urban areas of KwaZulu/Natal, South Africa, that uses dance as an educational and developmental medium. Children involved range from 6 - 23 years old. They have a special 'Rights of the Girl Child' Project called 'Dudlu Ntombi', which has been running in the urban townships of Durban for the last five years. Dance is used as a methodology for life skills training, especially around issues of sexuality, HIV/AIDS and identity.

CHIPAWO has been working with children and young people for over 20 years and has been involved in many international festivals and exchanges. It has learnt from its long experience that children and young people can play a very effective role in the promotion of their country in terms of international relations, trade and tourism as well as in fostering peace and understanding between neighbours and different countries.

Recently CHIPAWO was involved in another international experience, participating in the 11th World Festival of Children's Theatre in Lingen, Germany, and an exchange with members of the Drakomir Children's Theatre in Ribe, Denmark.

In 2003 in a project called Zhou Yakanaka, CHIPAWO hosted a party of children from the Yue Xiu Children's Palace from Guan Zhou, China, for a three week exchange which saw them travelling round the country, visiting famous tourism sites and performing and interacting with many different children's and arts organisations.

The arts build bridges between people and when children are involved, even more so.

Visit the CHIPAWO fact sheet

Please credit if you make use of material from this website. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.