More than 30 schools from around the Cape Metro celebrated the annual Artists in Schools (AiS) Human Rights Festival, hosted by the Nyanga Development Arts Centre (NADC), at its offices in Nyanga, on Wednesday March 21.
The organisers said the festival, hosted in partnership with the Department of Arts and Culture, had been arranged in response to the lack of quality arts and culture teachers as well as comprehensive education in most public schools in the country.
The department has hired professional and self-employed arts practitioners to share their skills and knowledge in their respective communities.
The festival showcased pupils’ skills in drama, music, photography, poetry, craft and visual art.
Schools from as far as Stellenbosch and Strand took part in the event. On a wall inside the tent, in striking red letters, was written “Artists Celebrate Human Rights Day” and alongside were artworks by the local artists.
Mpho Mabule, deputy director for the national Department of Arts and Culture, said the programme allowed schools to work together and created the opportunity for pupils to pursue art subjects even if there were no teachers qualified to teach these subjects.
“We want to give a platform to children who may not be good in maths but excel in art,” he said.
“What is important about it is that children learn to face challenges. It was also welcomed by the communities.
“The festival itself is a good platform for children to showcase their God-given talent.”
Administrative secretary and programme manager for the Community Art Centre’s programming, Mteto Mzongwana, said the department and the NADC had established the project to equip people with skills “from visual arts to drama, poetry, photography and crafts”.
He said at the AiS project the artists teach, observe and groom participants and create career opportunities for people in the community.
Nosisana Nama, who handles monitoring and evaluation for the AiS project, said she was already looking forward to next year’s event.
Ms Nama praised the artists and pupils for a job well done and said she hoped to see many pupils following through with their art.
“The talent shown is amazing. This is a talent to nurture well. All credit to their teachers, they have done a wonderful job,” she said.