The Sibikwa Community Theatre Project uses the arts to reach historically disadvantaged communities. Sibikwa explores these disciplines through education and training, concentrating on cultural heritage and youth at risk.
Communication Strategies: 

Sibikwa works to empower the community through education and training. "Plays are important to Sibikwa, but are not the only priority." The directors stress the need to form, in conjunction with community development, an indigenous standard of work.

Actors are trained to conduct in-depth research, and, according to Sibikwa, the collective creation of plays forms a unique result - projects that are of the people for the people.

Sibikwa's project mostly operates on the East Rand, but the influence of the training, performances, and workshops extends throughout South Africa and internationally.

Among other projects currently being undertaken by Sibikwa are:

  • Saturday Arts Academy, which "promotes values that are important not only for the sake of the personal development of learners but also for the evolution of a South African national character." Objectives include:
    • giving economically disadvantaged learners access to quality education
    • developing the literacy, life, and communication skills of learners from disadvantaged communities
    • encouraging a culture of learning through the creative arts
    • directing the energies of youngsters toward goal-oriented activities
    • developing a vocational training programme for Senior learners
  • Teacher Training Programmes: workshops in the use of Drama teaching strategies in Arts & Culture and all the other learning areas. As part of a longer programme (from February to September), teachers explore the holistic development of the child through Educational Drama, as well as experience Drama as a performing art. Sibikwa also offers shorter courses round specific programmes such as playmaking, school productions, masked dance drama, choral verse and storytelling.

    In 2003 Sibikwa launched a training programme that introduces creative teaching methods to Natural Sciences/Technology teachers. Working closely with the Arts & Culture facilitators of the Gauteng Education Department, Sibikwa has conducted grade specific workshops to assist teachers with the implementation of curriculum 2005.

  • Storytelling Festival: Sibikwa offers a 4-day cultural experience during which they explore the many facets of storytelling with performances and workshops. "We encourage a festive atmosphere with popular entertainment; our Marimba Band performs, and there is traditional music and dancing. The professional storytellers are inspiring and exciting, but our vision is to open up the practice to the general community in our 'open mike' sessions, which will be held daily."

    The Storytelling Festival reaches about 500 teachers, 250 Schools, and a large number of community elders. The festival is designed to enrich teachers, enhance communication between young and old, heighten awareness of the importance of cultural heritage, encourage the use of different indigenous languages, and recognise South Africa's inherent diversity.

Development Issues: 

Education, Life Skills Development.


Letter sent from Sibikwa to The Communication Initiative on October 15 2003.