‘Create, collaborate and inspire’

Observatorys Nomphumelo Rakabe, an Artscape ambassador, shows off one of her paintings.

Observatory’s Nomphumelo Rakabe was one of 14 Artscape Theatre ambassadors who recently took part in an exchange programme with its African counterpart in Zambia.

Ms Rakabe, who is a multimedia visual artist and activist, has been an Artscape ambassador for the past three years. The group left for Zambia on Saturday July 14 and returned on Monday July 23, with a renewed enthusiasm for youth empowerment.

Artscape was one of the three partners of the combined Cultural construction of youth and young construction of culture, exchange programme who met with NGO Barefeet Theatre, as well as the European partner Samba Resille, (France).

Communications manager, Si-
mone Heradien said this was part of an initiative that started earlier this year at Artscape, using arts and culture to empower
young people and help them strengthen their social and professional skills.

The Barefeet Theatre NGO was founded by former street children as a response to the plight of young people living on Zambian streets.

“Through the power of performance, educational workshops, and more, they seek to develop vulnerable youth into physically healthy, cognitively, and socially competent young people. Through theatre, performance, social support, creativity, and self-expression, Barefeet works to address the needs of these vulnerable children in 40 communities across the country and on the national stage at the annual Barefeet Youth Arts Festival,” said Ms Heradien.

Ms Rakabe currently works for the NPO Project Playground in Gugulethu, where she teaches painting, photography and video installation to the youth of the area. Project Playground offers free after-school activities such as sports and support programmes five days a week to children between the ages of four and 21.

Ms Rakabe said Artscape had recognised the work she did with the organisation and approached her to become an ambassador.

Her motto is to “Create. Collaborate and Inspire”.

“As an ambassador you are representing the brand, its goals and mission and you are a leader and a role model to other young visual entrepreneurs,” she said.

During their visit they used music, performance and visual art to inspire children at the various schools and shelters they visited, as a form of art therapy.

Speaking about her time in Zambia, she said that although Africans had different cultures, they shared the same believes when it came to youth empowerment.

Ms Rakabe is working on launching a crowd-funding campaign to raise funds for her organisation for art material and to help empower neglected and abused children.