Sometimes boredom, roaming the streets and idleness can lead to the eggs of criminal activities being incubated and hatched – causing more problems in communities.
One young woman who saw this in her community decided to do something about it. She recognised there was a gap in empowering youths and decided to fill it through running artistic activities and programmes in the district where she was living.
Kagiso Kekana is living up to the meaning of her name – which literally means ‘let’s build together’.
She founded a non-profit organisation called Charismatic Rhythms in 2015, where she holds the position of creative director. This organisation advocates for the development of young people aged between 15 – 35 years and also gives them a platform to realise their artistic dreams.
“We utilise the creative methods of performance art and life skill programmes to address social issues and work towards poverty reduction. We provide job opportunities for the youths whom we have trained and give them a stipend.”
The Charismatic Rhythms received artistic funding from the Arts and Culture Trust which enabled them to launch their pilot project, The Artistic Excursion Project, in 2016. This project has benefited at least 30 young people from the Makhado area and Polokwane.
“We visited various art hubs in Johannesburg and interacted with members of the internationally acclaimed project, Moving into Dance Mophatong at the Market Theatre and Skeem Saam’s studios. Our members acquired first-hand experience on how and what the industry has got to offer. During that programme, we were further able to partner with Golden Youth Club from Winterveld on a cultural exchange project promoting social cohesion and nation building through arts and culture.”
“We also focus on pupils who have just completed their Grade 12 and are on a gap year. We know that a gap year is sometimes filled with boredom and idleness. Idleness is not a good thing. So, when the post-matric youth has signed himself or herself into any of our programmes, it adds more value to his or her life.”
“We also reach youths via programmes relating to mentorships through our Sisters Network and Brothers Network sessions, where we invite experts in different fields to stage group dialogues and one-on-one sessions with our youths.”
It is part of the organisation’s mission to partner with like-minded individuals, organisations and institutions nationally and internationally to create innovative projects and programmes to influence positive change in the lives of young aspiring artists.
“As for the first half of this year, we have four of our affiliated members embarking on a four month accredited short skills course with our partnering institute, Sibikwa Arts Centre in Benoni. They will be trained in drama and dance as well as in basic facilitation skills.”
However, two of the most difficult challenges that the organisation is currently facing is not owning a space or venue of their own for office use and activities. They use the Tshikota Community Hall for weekly and monthly activities but they have no alternative venue when the hall has been booked for use by other people.
“We have to cancel and reschedule our activities. Lack of space is currently limiting some of the projects we’d like to initiate.”
She stated that managing the youths has not been difficult for her since she possesses the soul of a youth.
“As an organisation we have a set of values we believe in and try by all means to follow them with love, respect and purposefulness.”
Kagiso describes herself as a God-fearing woman who was born in Soweto, bred in the East Rand. She has a qualification in advertising and communication science with years of work experience in the administrative and media industry.
Tell us: What are some of the qualities you’ve learnt from Kagiso?