Acting out our history

2016-08-02 06:00
Grant Solomon is about nation building that's why he has taken it upon himself to teach the younger generation about their history through drama as well as IsiXhosa to be able to get around in a diverse country. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

Grant Solomon is about nation building that's why he has taken it upon himself to teach the younger generation about their history through drama as well as IsiXhosa to be able to get around in a diverse country. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

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Grant Solomon believes in nation building, and that is why he has taken it upon himself to teach children from disadvantaged communities drama and IsiXhosa.

Working with children from the ages of six to 12 – from Lavender Hill, Cuba Heights and Philippi – he wants them to have a vivid and clear picture of the country they live in.

Through drama, the children commemorate most of the important days in the country like Human Rights Day and Youth Day.

With Women’s Day a week away, they are working on a drama that will paint a clear picture for the young generation on what 9 August 1956 was all about.

“I want kids to be educated. I believe I’m walking in the footsteps of Mandela. He was about nation building. He loved kids, so I want to leave my mark as well. I move with the month and the seasons. Talk about any important day on our calendar, and I’ll bring it to life through drama,” he says.

With a number of awards to his name, Solomon says he started teaching IsiXhosa in 2004.

“The kids that I teach don’t have IsiXhosa at school. This will help them get around in such a diverse country. We first learn the basics of the language. When we are done with IsiXhosa, we move on to do the drama pieces which the kids love so much,” he says.

“The reason I’m dong this, is that people shout they are proudly South African, when in true sense they are not. They don’t know about the defiance campaign; they don’t know who Steve Biko was. It’s shocking. It’s even sad that the politicians are not doing much to help the youth learn about their politics and their country. For me it’s not with pride, but confidence, that I’m able to mention the names of the great people in the country so by teaching these kids I want to pay tribute to our heroes,” he says.

Working out of his own pocket, he also takes children on educational tours.

“Learning is a continuous thing. I also continue to learn IsiXhosa. My aim is for these kids to grow up knowing their history and the joys and pains that other people have to sacrifice for this democracy.”

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