It seems as if we had just put our feet down on SA terra firma arriving back from Breaking Walls in Barcelona …when the 2015 Cape Town Breaking Walls first 4 day workshop was upon us. No rest for the wicked, just another exciting challenge to enjoy. Breaking Walls is a writing theatre project, which focuses on young people creating a better world. A world where racism, intolerance, discrimination and hate are things of the past. Instead a world of love, acceptance, tolerance of all religious affiliations, sexual preferences, a world united. The artists (as the students are called) are given writing triggers which are to be answered in depth. Each artist is then asked to present their writing to their fellow artists. An ambassador, will then engage with the artists and explore their writing, delving deeper, encouraging and assisting them to create. The artists choose two of their writing triggers and the Director then compiles their words of wisdom and writes a script for the play. Amazing , the artists are then directed through rigorous rehearsals until the final performance when all their hard work will be displayed in front of an appreciative audience, their voices heard! Rainbow Dreams Trust has partnered with the Breaking Walls project for the last three years. We are inspired by the phenomenal results we have seen in the collective voices of youth, addressing problems the world faces today. After attending the yearly International 10 day Breaking Walls projects, hosted in various overseas countries, we decided, to have an annual workshop right here in Cape Town with students from various schools and backgrounds, join together with our RDT youth club members from townships in the Cape Town area. At this workshop we worked with 13 students from the German International School and 12 Rainbow Dreams Trust, Township Youth club members, it was inspiring to work with these young creative minds. We owe grateful thanks to Kirsten………..of the German………. for their generous sponsorship which helped us hold this 4 day Cape Town project. The workshop took place in October at a campsite in Noordhoek and it proved.
Interesting…….. we worked hard every day from 9.00 till 3.00, then each afternoon was dedicated to having fun and team building.
Under the expert tuition of Mandy Sandenberg, the artists’ created two beautiful murals of ‘how.
The first evening we had a cultural exchange with typical foods from Africa and Germany served, then the artists presented songs , dances and poetry from their different countries. We hiked in the hillside with leaders from BEEP, an RDT environmental project, on the hike, we arrived at a particular place and were told by the Beep leaders to find a quite spot, lie down, close your eyes, listen to the sounds of nature, think and contemplate, who are you, where do you come from and most importantly, where are you going? Not a whisper could be heard, when do young people of today have the time or the inclination to do this, it is quite empowering.
An evening was spent at Kalk Bay harbour, dining at the famous “Kalky’s fish and chip harbour restaurant. Then it was time for the real hard work, learning lines of the script and rehearsals. Dress rehearsal at the performance venue in Rondebosch, followed by supper at the Hout Bay harbour market and back to camp to begin rehearsing yet again.
Some said to put on this show in 2 days was impossible…but impossible is not a popular word with our leaders. The final day and the performance, what fantastic support we had from parents, family, friends and friends of Rainbow Dreams Trust, hard to believe, but it was standing room only. The performance was a great success and as our Director from New York marvelled, she herself is an actress and never had she seen such commitment and dedication. To learn these scripts and to perform so professionally, was unheard of in this short length of time. No one was more impressed than us, Crystal Boyd our director, Merve Kania our Breaking Walls ambassador from Germany and myself, what super stars these kids were. The show ended with standing ovations and much emotion.
Time now for goodbyes, friendships were formed, barriers were broken and a new understanding was born. Such is the success of this amazing project .
The reflections, trepidation and discovery for these young people is best explained in their own words, here are some reflections
“What I discovered the most is that we all have the common goal which is to expel/to put racism and discrimination to an end and to show that it can be done by the youngest of us if we are serious about it. And, lastly – that everything is possible; there is nothing impossible.” Anthule
“The German School children were very friendly, loving – they were so caring. They treated us as their family, and made us feel like brothers and sisters. What I learned was there are lots of challenges in life and if you don’t believe in yourself you will never accomplish anything.” Musa
“At our breaking walls initiative I even learned that no one is better than the others, and that you are able to do things that you thought you won’t be able to accomplish. I loved the way we treated each other and the way we respected each other’s religions. The way we bonded was so good and it is a good image for others to see. I will keep in my mind that respect is more important than anything to get dignity, and respect has no boundaries. You must respect one another so you can be respected.” Sihle
“breaking walls helped me become cognizant of the problems facing the future of South Africa and I now know that something has to change. I am still contemplating on what role I can take in this change, but I will be patient because I know that everything happens for a reason and the change will come at the right time.” Michaela
On a final note, here is the link to the breaking walls 2015 Cape Town video! https://youtu.be/yWzHTGrjuSE