Art Aids Art

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

eKhaya eKasi Grand Opening Celebration

On December 1, World AIDS Day, after three years of planning and development, fundraising and designing, organizing and building, eKhaya eKasi Community Center in Khayelitsha, South Africa prepares to open its doors for the grand opening celebration. An hour before the event, young and old are already waiting outside in anticipation.

Inside, the space is ready for the throng....

... outfitted and decorated. Heartfelt thanks to for the vinyl sticker dots.

Guests arrive from around the corner and faraway places. We were overjoyed to have many special guests in attendance: Tina Davis (Norway), director of Bigger Than Barbie; Carin Smuts (Cape Town) from CS Architects, who consulted with our design team; Beverley Price (Johannesburg), founder of one of our participating collectives; Holly Sparks (USA), Art Aids Art's 2008 Tumi McCallum Women's Advocate; and Pamela Davis (USA), the 2008 Jungle Justice Artist-in-Residence. Future collaborators also attend, including an entire contingent from Women's Business Center, with whom we are developing plans for computer classes....

...and, of course, there is a massive turnout by our dear friends at Monkeybiz Bead Project!

The festivities begin with dancing by the women.

There is joy...


... and style!

Speaking to the audience of 500, Tom notes the significance of opening the center on World AIDS Day – we are committed to the struggle against this disease and, as Desmond Tutu says, “There must be No Outsiders.” Sakhumzi encounters a problem as he tries to translate this phrase into Xhosa… Upon further investigation, we learn that in Xhosa there is no word for “outsider.”

After receiving permission from the youngest and eldest in attendance, Dorothy leads a blessing for the space, with the children in the center of the circle.

It's time to cut the ceremonial ribbon.

The celebration continues with the children's dancing, both joyful...

...and intense.

Drumming accompaniment on the nearest trash bin is fierce.

Now it's time to lift the shutter and see what's inside!

Children enjoy themselves at the art tables.

Everyone enters the raffle for eKhaya eKasi t-shirts...

... and wait in anticipation for the drawing to take place.

Meanwhile, everyone has an opportunity to visit the container gallery to view "Find Africa in You," the exhibit of artwork donated by our artist support network in the US. It is the first showing of its kind ever in Khayelitsha.

Refreshments are served by eKhaya Caterers out of the newly outfitted J.A.Z.Z Tea Shop.

Time for the drawing... "I won!"

Ten lucky winners proudly collect their shirts.

The event closes with a powerful performance of the national anthem by all in attendance, and then its time to party!

Special thanks to our dynamic photography duo: Pamela Davis and Kamielah Davids.

Photo credits:

Pamela Davis: Photos 1 2 4 7 8 15 16 18 19 21 22 23
Kamielah Davids: Photos 3 5 6 9 10 11 12 13 14 17 20 24


Art Aids Art promotes education and sustainable economic development through the arts.
We support cross-cultural exchanges between Americans and South Africans.

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