Plans for art centre gains momentum

An artistic impression of the planned the Makukhanye Art Room Theatre.

A group of young artists from Khayelitsha who are members of Theatre4Change and run a theatre in a shack called Makukhanye Art Room in Site B, have taken upon themselves the mammoth task of raising funds to build Khayelitsha’s first theatre.

The organisation needs to raise R5 million to cover up the building cost of the theatre and have already started with the fundraising drive.

These determined young people said it was a disgrace that Khayelitsha did not have its own arts centre to afford budding artists an opportunity to hone and perfect their talent and skills.

The organisation said Khayelitsha, one of the biggest townships in the country, had produced a number of great musicians and actors and yet it does not have an arts centre.

The Makukhanye Arts Room was established in 2007 and has given birth to a number of well established artists such as Khayalethu Anthony who has won numerous awards.

Recently the organisation was presented with the Best Innovation Theatre Award at the Fleur Du Cap theatre awards ceremony.

Mandisi Sindo, artistic director and founder of the organisation, who has just returned from Switzerland where he spent two weeks trying to convince top business people to lend a helping hand, said this has long been his dream.

He said the fundraising drive was organised by a Swiss organisation called Urban Think who are keen to help them make their dream a reality.

He said they managed to raise R500 000 but they still need more. He highlighted that there were many young people who were talented but did not have a platform to showcase their talent.

He said township artists are forced to perform at theatres in the city centre, which were inaccessible, due to financial constraints and transport issues.

He suggested that they want to name the theatre after Abongile Kroza who was one of the founding members of their organisation who died tragically in a car accident in Khayelitsha in 2012.

He said they run weekly training sessions where they equip artists with skills and recommend them to big production companies.

He called on black business people to support this initiative, saying it will benefit the children of Khayelitsha and be a legacy for future generations.

Commenting on the challenges they face, Mr Sindo said one of their biggest problems was that they lived in fear of their theatre being caught in fire and had been forced not to leave their valuable equipment on the premises.

He said floods also pose a major risk, particularly in winter season.

If you would like to help, call Mr Sindo on 076 035 9672 or 084 038 1900