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Tshala Project. 

Keep the Dream Arts: Tshala Project

Keep the Dream Arts, with the backing of the National Arts Council, has partnered with Alex Arts Academy (AAA) on an interactive arts educational programme. The programme’s theme is ‘SiyafundisaNa?’ (Translated as: “We are learning together” or “Are we really learning?”), under the Tshala Project. The programme questions and interrogates the concept of teaching/learning/facilitating in a collaborative effort between facilitators and learners. The programme is set in phases and includes training of facilitators, museum tour and five drama groups holding creative workshops, where they will use themes from the museum tour over months, and performances in the form of plays, are now headed towards performance day on the 2nd of October in Alexandra.

Under the programme, five facilitators from KTDA and AAA, namely, Mpho Masilela, Sanele Mzimela, Matlakala Motaung, Avril Mkansi and Mbali Masiza have undergone training with Moses D. Rasekele (actor, drama facilitator, and director) on how to create a performance with learners through a dialogical and interactive process. The training lies on the bedrock of 2020’s successful programmes wherein KTDA trained 30 facilitators on online facilitation to adjust to the new ways of teaching and learning as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This training was essential to prepare the facilitators for the journey they were about to travel.

Following the training, the facilitators have been working with 10 students each from Alex Arts Academy in multiple workshops. This is to explore themes and create plays that they can share with society. KTDA has further partnered with the Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria (Javett-UP), to use artworks in the museum as a starting point to elect content for the students to create their own journey towards performances and for the art works to act as pretext. The 2021 themes that are assigned to each group are: Rituals of Self-Preservation, Dreamscapes, Constructions of Masculinities, language and Abstraction.

The programme ran from May to September due to the suspension of physical workshops during the 3rd wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. The grand showcase will be on the 2nd of October 2021 at the Alex Resource Centre which is at Alex Arts Academy in Alexandra. On this momentous day, all the five drama groups from Tshala Project will share their journey in the project through a presentation of plays. The trajectory that started in May will be marked by performances created through sharing the plays. The showcase is influenced by the workshops each group held and the themes covered, while making use of the skills acquired from the interactive sessions with the facilitators.

We invite the community, partners, investors and stakeholders to come and enjoy the performances with us. The showcase promises to be exhilarating, as it boasts a prestigious ceremonial appeal for the guests.

Tshala Project Performances
02 October 2021
Alexsan Resource Centre
Time: 10:00
Due to Covid-19 regulations and safety protocols, we have limited spaces.
Kindly book your place on: 079 974 7178
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Upon taking stock of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on teaching and learning in 2020, especially with Creative Arts as a subject, Keep the Dream Arts (KTDA) has embarked on a contemporary intervention that is tailored for times like these. Due to the lack of resources in the form of art materials, teaching aids like instruments, as well as qualified human resources, most schools do not offer Creative Arts beyond Grade 9. 
 
This denies keen learners an opportunity to take their passion and craft in the arts further through a supportive school setting. This challenge is further compounded by the fact that schools are on rotational schedules in line with government efforts to curb the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus.
 
To address the challenge, KTDA, with the backing of the National Arts Council, has partnered with Alex Arts Academy (AAA) on an interactive education programme flighted under the theme ‘SiyafundisaNa?’ (Translated as: “We are learning together” or “Are we really learning?”), called the Tshala Project. The programme questions and interrogates the concept of teaching/learning/facilitating as a team effort between facilitators and learners.
 
Under the programme, five facilitators from KTDA and AAA, namely, Mpho Masilela, Sanele Mzimela, Matlakala Motaung, Avril Mkansi and Mbali Masiza undergo training by actor, producer, and director Moses D. Rasekele on how to create a performance with learners through a dialogical and interactive process. The training lies on the bedrock of 2020’s successful programmes that saw KTDA training 30 facilitators on online facilitation to adjust to the new ways of teaching and learning that resulted out of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
 
The shortfall, however, was that there was very little room for creativity and close to no student interaction at all. According to Puleng Plessie, one of the founders at KTDA, “The programmers’ we had last year as Keep the Dream Arts engaged 30 facilitators to learn online facilitation, working with different themes, including mental health. 
 
We found that our strength lied in the online engagement with facilitators, the guest speakers, as well as the reflection sessions we hosted. However, because we too were trying to put our feet on the ground, we found that there was little creativity and limited engagements with learners.” 
 
This is where this year’s programme steps things up. After being trained, the facilitators will each have a group of 10 students that will participate, with whom they will have live in-person interactions in the physical space provided by AAA and in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions. 
 
This comes as a welcome development to the Managing Director at AAA, Moses Rasekele who is quoted saying: “I am confident that there would be a significant shift in our students and staff at the end of this trajectory. We thank Keep the Dream Arts for this opportunity through the collaboration.”
 
AAA is a key player in multidimensional learning and teaching, emerging as a suitable partner in this drive by KTDA. The ball is already rolling on the ‘SiyafundaNa?’ project, with the facilitators’ training which was held on the 19th of May 2021 at AAA. 
 
The programme runs throughout June and July, with grand showcases set for the 6th of August 2021 at Joburg Theatre and on the 7th of August 2021 at the Alex Resource Centre which is at Alex Arts Academy in Alexandra. KTDA has further partnered with the Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria (Javett-UP), to use artworks in the museum as a starting point to elect content for the students to create their own journey towards performances and for the art works to act as pretext. 
 
The 2021 themes for learners include: Rituals of Self-Preservation, Dreamscapes, Constructions of Masculinities and Abstraction. The showcase by learners which will be stages on the 6that Joburg Theatre and on the 7th at Alexsan Resource Centre of August 2021 will be influenced by these works and cited themes, while making use of the skills acquired from the interactive sessions with the facilitators.
 
All partners, investors, and indeed the public at large will not be left out the programme because there will be constant updates on social media as well as on the KTDA website reporting on the different stages of progress. 
 
The showcase itself promises to be prestigious and to be held in high ceremonial regard since it will be evidence of the results of the programme, live and in action, literally. Watch out for news and updates on ‘SiyafundaNa?’ to keep up with the beat.

Competition

COVID-19 has changed many things about how we do things. In fact, it has drastically changed how we live our lives. But in these exceptionally distressing times, one thing that hasn’t changed is Ubuntu. Keep The Dream Arts has created a new way for facilitators who work with youth in schools, to win sanitizing pack’s for schools of their choice just by continuing participating in the program. The online training programme has been running since June and will continue until the end of the year. A special thanks to our sponsor National Arts Council of South Africa for making this programme a reality

competition

Women's Day

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On National Women’s day Keep the Dream Arts would like to honour Ma Esther Mahlangu who is best known for her bold contemporary paintings referencing her Ndebele Heritage. Born in 1935, Esther Mahlangu is a formidable artist and educator who is also known for being the first person to ever transfer the traditional Ndebele style of mural painting to canvas! She even painted her work onto a BMW 525i in 1991, becoming the first woman to take part in the BMW Art Car Project after artists such as Andy Warhol. With the intention to preserve her cultural heritage, Mahlangu started an art school in the backyard of her home in Mpumalanga that she funded herself in order to mentor young artists in the traditional style of Ndebele design and painting. Pupils at her school learn how to mix pigments and paint straight lines free hand without sketches using their fingers or at times chicken feathers. At the age of 84, Mahlangu is still continuing the traditional and lessons passed down from her mother and grandmother that she learned as a child.

RMB Turbine Art Fair Talk: Education in Art – Art Education across South Africa, Presenting David Andrew (Wits University), Molemo Moiloa (MADEYOULOOK), Puleng Plessie (Keep the Dream Arts) & Sibongile Bhebhe (Drama for Life)

On the 19 August Puleng Plessie Was part of the talk where she was engaging on the conversation around imagine new ways of seeing,doing and being through arts in education and how we reimagine teaching and learning through the arts. She was joined by oThandiwe Leraro Sekhibane, Thulile Gamedze, Dr Marguerite Muller. Moderated by Johanna Muvhungu

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