Over the past two months the Taxi Art Education Programme, in collaboration with the Constitutional Court and the Rainbow All Sports Academy, has provided over twenty homeless children between the ages 8 to 20 years with a cause to stay off the streets. This cause is a play called Street Folks, written by TAEP facilitator Ricky Bopape with assistance from Mmabatho Mokwena, the Junior Education Coordinator at the Constitutional Court.
The play tells the story of homeless youths living on the streets of Johannesburg and portrays their daily struggle with the challenges and dangers they face. Rubber bullets, prostitution and drugs are just some of the factors adding to the adverse conditions facing street people. In addition many of them find themselves succumbing to peer pressure and become involved in dangerous activities. By addressing the issue of peer pressure and the challenges it presents, the objective of Street Folks is to covey a spirit of upliftment, personal growth and improved self-esteem. Ricky Bopape stated, “it is about growing in South Africa and making South Africa a better place.”
Street Folks as a play hopes to create awareness of homeless children amongst the audience and as a project it aims to empower the children participating in the play. The young actors are being educated about their constitutional human rights as children, one of which is their right to shelter and to a healthy and safe environment. Thereby they are promoting amongst the youth a better quality of life and personal growth.
It is the coordinators vision to tour Street Folks throughout Johannesburg first and at a later stage, to theatres around South Africa. Performances are hoped to start early January 2008.
Another exciting project still in the pipeline for TAEP is a play written by Ricky Bopape called We on Air. Some simply call it Radio Nonsense; an apt description for this humorous take on the radio industry commenting on aspects ranging from DJ’s, jingles and advertisements to programmes. Ricky aims to take this play to the Grahamstown Arts Festival next year and is in the process of finding sponsorship for this ambition.
The TAEP has also recently established a relationship with the Nokwe Creative Development Foundation (NCDF) with the prospect of future collaborations. The NCDF is a registered charity organization whose visions we share. Their organization is dedicated to mentorship through arts outreach and self-management.
With all of these exciting projects ahead and a team of dedicated facilitators as the driving force behind them, we can look forward to a future filled with TAEP’s successful artistic adventures.