Marimba Dancers of Likhwezi Arts Project perform at the Castle of Good Hope

Wednesday, 05 October 2011, was a stunning spring day in the beautiful Mother City. I headed down to the Castle of Good Hope, camera in tow, and eagerly looking forward to the third (and sadly the final) day of the School Holiday Youth Development Program.

That day, it was the turn of the beautifully attired and decorated Marimba Dancers of the Likhwezi Arts Project to delight the throngs of spectators at the Castle with their high-energy song and dance routines.

These are the energetic Marimba Dancers of the Likhwezi Arts Project of Gugulethu

Here is a little bit about the history of this amazing organisation:

  • The Likhwezi Arts Project (meaning “Morning Star”) was established by Pamela Mtati in February 2003 as a professional self-sustaining group and community service organisation.
  • The group’s repertoire combines song and dance from a variety of Southern African cultures, accompanied by marimbas, drums and percussion. The group also specialise in contemporary, Spanish dance, Gumboot dance, Khwela, etc.
  • All members come from historically disadvantaged communities and between them have a diverse range of talents, qualifications and experience, covering teaching, singing, acting and dancing.
  • The project has chosen to expand by working with children who come from different parts of the townships (Gugulethu, Nyanga and Khayelitsha).
  • The project currently reaches about 50 children; about 20-30 children attend each class, and attendance is steadily increasing because they are no other recreational facilities in these areas. They do not charge any fees.

After all that leaping around, it is time to sing again…

  • Their aim is to get the township children off the streets, and to teach them singing, dancing, acting and musical skills. They want to make the youngsters aware that the arts can and do offer a career, and they thus seek to create jobs in the performing arts industry.
  • They use their performances to raise awareness around vital issues, such as HIV/AIDS, drug and alcohol abuse, crime, poverty and child abuse, as well as to empower the kids by teaching them skills, encouraging them to think, and fostering their imagination.
  • Their talented dancers have performed at several corporate 2010 FIFA World Cup soccer events and have collaborated with well-known artists both nationally and internationally.

And now you can sit back and enjoy their show.

Honestly, their enthusiasm, passion and sheer joy completely blew me away. I wish I could add some suitable background music and a video clip or two to this slideshow to convey the experience. If you ever have an opportunity to see them perform live, go and see them!

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9 thoughts on “Marimba Dancers of Likhwezi Arts Project perform at the Castle of Good Hope

  1. I knew this group would be interesting just by their outfits. Amazing to think that these children come from historically disadvantaged communities, but their love of singing and dancing and a program that doesn’t charge any fees has been able to give them a chance at a decent life.

    • Yes, it is amazing, isn’t it? I love such stories. I hadn’t known of this group before; it is good to give them some exposure and to tell people about them. I hope they will continue to grow and flourish. The enthusiasm and energy of those dancers and musicians was so infectious!

      • thank you very much guys for your input about us,i am also one of the members of the group,this is the first time i saw this you dont know how it means to really read about your group on the internet with great compliments…much appreciated,and also big thanks to the person who published this

      • Thank you, Somila – I am so glad you enjoyed reading about your group’s performance – you girls and guys were amazing! So inspirational. I hope that I will have another chance to see you perform. Best of luck for the future!

  2. Hi there, Am the leader of the Project, Likhwezi Arts Project, Very happy to see people comment positively about our perfomance. Yes i know the group is giving a very powerfull repetoire to the audience, how i wish to see the group entertain more Capetonians and tourist around more often so the could be recognise more with their energetic talent, with hard work they give to their audience. So if any one wants to book Likhwezi for any event nationally or internationally they can contact me directly @ 0834991553 Pamela Mtati (director) or email for enquiry likhwezi@mailbox.co.za….Thank you

    • Thank you, Pamela. I emailed you some time back with regard to your group’s performance at the Castle, and I still have a CD of photos for you. I will see that they get to you via a contact in the Army Band. May your group continue to grow from strength to strength – they really are excellent!

    • Hello Pamela – I have given the CD with all the photos to Sgt Maj André van Schalkwyk of the SA Army Band Cape Town this morning; he has kindly undertaken to see that they will reach you. Please let me know if you don’t receive them, and I can follow up, as I really would like you to have them. Bye for now!

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