Investing in local talent

2019-06-04 06:00
Sitting at a busy corner in Lotus River, Denver Damons and Patricia van der Ross are excited about a new project which aims to invest in young talent, uplift the community and give back. PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

Sitting at a busy corner in Lotus River, Denver Damons and Patricia van der Ross are excited about a new project which aims to invest in young talent, uplift the community and give back. PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

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Born and bred in Lotus River, local musician Denver Damons and ward councillor Patricia van der Ross share the same passion for uplifting and giving back to their community.

The duo is embarking on a new challenge of unleashing talent within Lotus River.

They are nurturing raw young talent through different types of art including singing, dancing and poetry.

The first leg of the project will run for six months, with participants standing a chance to get exposure possibly performing at the annual local carols by candlelight, and at a planned flea market in Fourth Avenue starting in November.

While Van der Ross will be taking care of the funding, creating opportunities and providing space for rehearsals, Damons and other interested artists will carry the responsibility of tutoring and polishing the talent, making it ready for performances. He will take charge of the rehearsals at the Lotus River Multi-Purpose Centre every Monday between 15:00 and 18:00.

The challenge is open to anyone between 13 and 22. There are no limitations as different types of genres will be explored in each category.

Van der Ross says the City, through the department of sport and recreation, allocates budget for youth development which she believes should be used for providing long term solutions and uplifting the youth in all possible ways.

“I grew up here. I know the community is rich with talent but there has not been a platform to mould it and watch it blossom. Though I knew in my heart how much this was needed I needed someone like Denver (Damons) to take the first step,” she says. Van der Ross was happy when Damons approached her with the idea and started brainstorming without hesitation.

Damons is a freelance musician and has also performed internationally. His passion started from a young age and says he was lucky that a resident invested in him and taught him how to play the guitar. Damons says his mentor’s passion for giving back is the reason for his success.

“I want to do the same for aspiring artists in my community by not just giving back to one, but as much as I can,” says Damons.

He called on the youth to make time to discover and build their talent from a young age.

The duo hopes the initiative will contribute towards curbing social ills in the community.

“We cannot run away from the fact that Lotus River is affected by crime and drug-related issues, but if we create opportunities and show our youth that they matter, we can keep them away from streets and know they have a safe space to socialise and share ideas,” concludes Van der Ross.

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