A Newtown-based non-profit organisation comprising various artists will descend on public spaces in Alexandra from June to August with the sole purpose of trying to change the mentality of the township’s youth.
The initiative will be driven by The Plat4orm Projects, using a cast of legends in the various artistic genres under the Legends Unite4Change programme which seeks to engage the youth of the township on various matters and aspects of life in the township and trying to set in motion a movement for change in Alexandra.
Decades back, Alexandra was known as the ‘Rhythm City’ because of its artistic vibe and the sporting and music excellence which used to epitomise life in the township, with groups such as Simon Nkabinde of Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens fame, Isibaya Esikhulu and other dance and theatre gurus of the time, including boxers, footballers and other sporting personalities.
“The who’s who of the entertainment industry, be it in music, theatre, dance and sporting activities such as boxing and footballers, all came from Alexandra. What we want to do is to try and bring that vibrancy back to Rhythm City and take our youth off the streets and away from nyaope, so they can begin to see life with a different set of glasses,” said Norman Maake, a filmmaker and marketing strategist for The Plat4orm Projects, which is behind the Legends Unite4Change campaign.
Maake noted that the Alex of today is known as a filthy place infested with rats, crime and drug abuse. “If you tell youngsters today that Alexandra decades back was the place to be, they would think you’re just out of your mind.”
As part of re-invigorating this vibrancy, Maake said they had roped in a number of artists and legends in their own fields to drive the movement for change, and those include the likes of Cornet Mamabolo and the legendary Ray Phiri of Stimela fame, who will work closely with their living Alex counterparts.
Apart from local artists in various genres, The Plat4orm Projects also hopes to draw in two international artists from Argentina who call themselves Mandragora Circo, who will not only stage their Communicating Without Words show but will also interact with Alex youth on various platforms such as workshops and dialogues at the Thusong Youth Centre.
“Our main aim really is to try and teach the young dogs new tricks of life. We want to tell them that nyaope is not cool, crime isn’t either, and that rape and the abuse of women and children has never been a cool thing to do,” Maake said.
Details: Nombuso Mpanza 011 051 9165; [email protected]