Excitement was evident on the faces of about 40 children and their parents during a graduation ceremony held at Philippi Hub on Friday 11 September.
The children between the ages of five to 17 got artwork certificates after completing a two months training programme organised by Baz-Art, a non-profit organisation (NPO) that transform spaces through commissioned urban art. As part of the programme kids are taught different art skills through the creation, education, incorporation and development of art in the country.
One of the graduates, Ntuthuko Chizama (11) from Siyangena informal settlement, described the programme as an eye-opener. “The training was fun and I enjoyed it,” he said. At first, he said he could only put together human sketches. But now he is able to draw a range of things including vehicles. He promised to practise regularly in order to master his craft.
One of the parents, Zimkhitha Sindaphi, described the programme as a good initiative to empower children. She praised it for keeping kids busy during the lockdown. “When my son (Azingce) informed me about it, I allowed him with an open heart. I was happy because I knew he won’t be roaming the streets,” she said.
Sindaphi said the certificates would motivate the kids to participate in other programmes.
Mark Jeneker, art teacher, has been using art to teach discipline, acceptance, engagement, the value of effort and life skills.
He hosted daily lessons every week for the past seven weeks. “I thank children and parents for their dedication to the programme,” he said.
Baz-Art co-founder Alexandre Tilmans stated that the initiative was supported by the City of Cape Town and the provincial department of arts and culture. “Now that we are halfway through our project we hope to get more funding so that we can do a one-year curriculum. The plan is to provide more children with life skills through art education,” said Tilmans.