When the Novembers leap into the air and land gracefully it’s clear they share the same genes.
The Cape Academy of Performing Arts (Capa) in the Cape Town suburb of Tokai is worlds away from the dusty streets of Zolani township near Montagu in the Western Cape where they grew up. But in their dreams for the future they go even further afield – to the world’s leading ballet stages.
This morning, for the first time in months, 14-year-old Siphe, the youngest, is dancing with them. He won a bursary to the Canada’s National Ballet School and has been honing his skills there since 2010, but is back in South Africa for his annual visit.
Before sunrise on a cold winter morning Mthuthuzeli, or Mthuthu, and his cousin, Aviwe (both 19), are hard at work practising. Siphe is Mthuthu’s younger brother.
“We miss him,” Mthuthu says. But they know being able to spend time in Canada, where he’s in the care of two Good Samaritans, is an opportunity he couldn’t turn down.
“They give me so many opportunities but my family is and will always be here in South Africa,” Siphe says. “I think about them all the time when I’m training there or performing on stage.
“Ballet is my life,” he says excitedly. “I still remember how clumsy I felt in the beginning. But now I’m being exposed to some of the best dancers and teachers in the world, I feel anything is possible.”
Read more of this inspirational story by Pieter van Zyl in YOU 6 September 2012.