Iziko Museum Celebrates Africa Day | Western Cape Government



Iziko Museum Celebrates Africa Day

24 May 2012

Iziko Museum hosted a wide variety of cultural events to celebrate Africa Day. This day is commemorated every year on 25 May across the continent to mark the establishment in 1963 of the Organisation of African Unity.

Activities were organised by Mr Bradley Sirmonpong of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) and ranged from a poetry workshop for teenagers to musical acts, dancing, an art exhibition and poets performing their own work. Mrs Pamela Court, Programme Coordinator at the Iziko Museum, expressed her appreciation to DCAS for its efforts and the diverse audience the event had brought into the museum. She described the activities as interactive and educational, and especially uplifting to younger visitors.

Ms Toni Stuart, poet and creative writing facilitator, started the day with a poetry workshop and ended the day by performing some of her work. To her, Africa Day means that people should reflect on their diversity and appreciate their differences.

The exciting moves of hip hop fusion dancers had the audience screaming for more, and the group demonstrated some of their more basic steps. These dancers are young men who participate in the DCAS after-school MOD (Mass Operations Development) Centre programme.

An indigenous music group which receives support from the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) captivated the audience with their traditional music and instruments. The EPWP is a project that creates work for the youth that teaches them valuable skills. The group gave thanks to DCAS for the opportunity to perform during the Iziko Museum Africa Day event.

Mbali Vilakazi performed a few of her poems and said that she was excited to be mentoring and providing space for 17-year-old Siyabonga Njica from Cape Town High School to develop his poetry skills.

Bulelwa Bassa, who was dressed in African clothing in honour of the day, shared some of her poetry and invited Kayalabo Ngudu to perform some of his pieces. She encouraged people to celebrate the youth of South Africa.

The audience was enthralled by the Rainbow Arts Organisation performing its energetic "Back to My Roots" dance, which puts a comic twist to the traditional gumboot dance.

DCAS created many opportunities for various people to perform and participate in Africa Day activities at the Iziko Museum. This event created a platform for voices to be heard, in some cases for the first time, and for people to learn about programmes such as the MOD Centres and EPWP. The diversity and talent of Africa was clearly on display throughout the day.