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/ 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.
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.
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