Art Aids Art

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Jungle Justice in Cape Town, South Africa: Art, Education & Engagement

Jungle Justice in Cape Town, South Africa:  Art, Education & Engagement

Art Aids Art’s annual service learning trip to Cape Town combines education, volunteering and socially conscious tourism.  In March, Jungle Justice 2011 featured the participation of Lesley College students and professors for a course entitled "Art Therapy, Empowerment and Community in South Africa."  The week emphasized methods for supporting literacy and self-expression that are fundamental to development and wellbeing.

Here are highlights from two days during this immersive week.

Day 1
Jungle Justice participants joined mothers from Art Aids Art’s Women’s Skills Program for activities at eKhaya eKasi Center in Khayelitsha. 

The morning began with tours of the center, including an opportunity to shop at the Art Boutique, where the variety of local handcrafts, especially those made from recycled and repurposed materials, has greatly expanded. 

Pictured below, eKhaya eKasi’s new manager, Busisiwe Dalingozi, worked the register while handmade Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu dolls eagerly watched.  Welcome, Busi!

Lunch offered informal time for getting to know each other…

…and then the intensive work began.  Sheet music was distributed and the Jungle Justice group was given a crash course in singing the South African National Anthem, Nkosi SikeleliAfrika.  The group overcame the significant linguistic challenge of pronouncing Xhosa words. Thanks to Tory DeYoung for this video clip.

After the vocal workout, the group received an introduction to persona dolls, an effective tool for encouraging storytelling.

With dolls completed and stories shared, a children’s literacy activity followed, featuring call-and-response, song and dance (sorry, no photos… everyone was fully engaged!).  By 3pm we were exhilarated and exhausted.

Day 2
The Jungle Justice group traveled to Philani Nutrition Center, also based in Khayelitsha, to work with young children and teachers.

Lesley College’s Nancy Jo Cardillo led three preschool classes through participatory movement and rhythm activities.

After sharing lunch with Philani teachers, Lesley’s Jane Richardson and local educator Gilly Barton conducted a teacher training workshop in the use of sand play, another means of stimulating self-reflection and expression, both verbal and nonverbal.

Teachers chose their characters and props from an extensive array of available resources…

…then carefully created scenarios in sand trays.  The activity culminated with the sharing of stories developed through the process of sand play.

These two days represent just a sampling of the week’s activities, which included silkscreening with the Women’s Skills Project, visits to Robben Island, Table Mountain and the Cape of Good Hope, and more.  

On the final day, the Women’s Skills Project presented the group with t-shirts featuring its very first silkscreen design as a token of appreciation.

The links below feature further documentation from Jungle Justice 2011.  Thanks to Sarah Groh and Christine Jozitis for their insights, video and photos.

Jungle Justice 2012 is tentatively planned for next March.  Let us know if you’re interested in joining us.

Photo credits: Christine Jozitis, Dorothy Garcia, Tom Harding

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