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In 2011 the City of Johannesburg approached the Outreach Foundation, Hillbrow to set up a community led arts development program in Orange Grove as part of offering high school youths and women access to creative development.   Hillbrow Theatre Project and Boitumelo Project,Outreach Foundation, Hillbrow has for over 12 years activated and offered various creative programs to the participants of the inner City of Johannesburg access to theatre, music and arts projects. With this history and dedication the Foundation planned a full and contextually rich outline with the support from the various facilitators to initiate a journey of creative development in Orange Grove. Facilitators, Kutjo Green and Mike Linda Mkhwanazi prepared a theatre course for high school learners and Naledzani Matshinge and Mary Mawela initiated a sewing circle for young adults and mothers. Robert van Wyk led the mural team to activate the building from the Louis Botha side to express thoughts and ideas from all the participants.

When did it start and why (was there a need identified)?
After a series of meetings in 2011 with various role players and local community leaders practicalities, needs and possibilities were explored and on the 17th of January 2012 a final meeting were held at 191 Louis Botha Orange Grove to finalise with all role players the last input and ideas.

Pamphlets and posters were delivered to various schools, libraries and other community centers to invite people to the open day planned for the 28 of January 2012. The Royal Vibrationz Marimba band from the Outreach Foundation joined the morning and activities, which included drawing on the pavement with chalk, painting graffiti on the walls and several creative challenging questions around choices, theatre and expressions to the participants.

You mention that you have children and youth that you are teaching, how many are they and what age group?
The age groups are as follows: The Dynamites are between 3 and 8 years old and about 10-15 arrive every Saturday depending on the weather and or school activities. The Theatre Group is between 12-18 years old and roughly 15 – 25 youth members arrive depending on school activities. 
How were these children and youth identified?
We connected with the schools in the area as well as the community living in the immediate buildings in and around 191 Louis Botha and through activities, fliers and invitations they joined since January 2012.

How does this art project benefit the community?
One of the key aspects of the Boitumelo Project is striving for creative excellence and facilitating communication within communities in Gauteng. The project uses the arts to nurture self worth that enables product development that supports product sales and income. This facilitates economic independence and combating poverty in an incremental way for participants.

Conducting explorative workshops on various topics, HIV, Abuse, xenophobia, living rights, the constitution, education, fair/unfair practices in the community and or fair/unfair in their lives offers most participants a voice as well as a sharing of ideas with neighbours. These informal workshops addresses a range of themes, including safety and security, the church, soccer, xenophobia, RDP housing, grandparents raising their grandchildren, and property rights as these arise within the community and with the participants and are opening dialogue and iunderstanding.

The objectives of any training and or project creation for the Boitumelo Project is that of building a creative community project designed to engage people living together with poverty in and around Johannesburg/Gauteng. The project uses skills training, education, and social consciousness to build a safe haven ‘a safe space’ where wo(men) can be involved in creative activities of arts and crafts development while learning capacities and life skills in order to address the complexities in their daily lives.  

How many years this project is been running?
This is a baby project only 7 months old so we are still growing and learning.

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Erica Lüttich Creative Director Boitumelo Project 'stitching our lives together' office: + 27 11 720 7011 cell:  +27 79 123 4059 e-mail:">

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