Dancers off to Sweden

2019-05-02 06:00
Members of the United We Stand Community Building Project.

Members of the United We Stand Community Building Project.

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While members of the United We Stand Community Building Project, in Gugulethu, might look just like any other group in their neighbourhood, they are not your ordinary dance group.

Three of their members are on the brink of achieving extraordinary things. Tomorrow, on Friday 3 May, Thato Nomungeka (15), Marlon Maqonga (17) and Simthandile Sonamzi (13) will all be jetting off to Sweden where they will be the guest dancers for Queen Silvia of Sweden during the World’s Children’s Prize (WCP) ceremony on Thursday 9 May. The ceremony is the world’s largest annual rights and democracy campaign for kids. It has empowered over 42 million children for better, globally.

The programme is run annually where three outstanding child rights advocates are nominated for the prize.

Project founder Judy Mkoko said she started the group in 2010 in the midst of challenges faced by young people including peer pressure, drug abuse and teenage pregnancy. The project has about 70 children between the ages of seven and 18. They are taught life and music skills as well as performing arts such as dance and drama.

Mkoko described the trip as a once in a lifetime opportunity for her dancers. “As the organisation we are very happy that some of our own will be going to Sweden to represent us,” she said.

Mkoko said all three dancers will be leaving the country for the first time and it is a big deal for them. She said they will get an opportunity to experience new things and share their knowledge with other children from other parts of the globe.

She said as an organisation they have been operating for nine years without any funding to improve the children’s lives.

Mkoko said the group is also preparing to take part in the international dance contest in the United States of America in November. While the trip to Sweden is fully funded, she said their challenge is raising necessary funds for the American trip.

“We are asking for anyone who can help us because we have also been invited to take part in the Dance Championship of the World in the United States of America later this year,” she said. The group needs to raise funds for the trip and accommodation during the championships. Participants from more than 100 countries are expected to compete at the annual spectacular, organised by All Dance International.

Mkoko said they want to show the whole world their unique South African style of dancing which is “kasi dance”.

If anyone would like to help they can get hold of Judy Mkoko on 079 141 0400 or at mkoko.j@gmail.com.

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