Tucked in a secluded valley next to the ocean, Hout Bay is a sought-after residential area boasting spectacular natural beauty and a fascinating history. It is also home to two vibrant but impoverished communities:
- Imizamo Yethu, an informal settlement, where most of an estimated 35 000 people live in poverty with little or no hope of a better future for themselves or their children.
- Hangberg, the fishing community, above Hout Bay Harbour where, for the most part, poor families live in overcrowded homes, at the mercy of gangs and illegal drug trafficking.
In both of these marginalised communities, parents are often so busy working hard to make ends meet that they cannot always invest (even emotionally) in their children’s dreams. Lacking adequate encouragement to work hard and succeed in today’s world of opportunities, many young people simply give up, stop believing in themselves, and succumb to negative influences.
And so the pattern of poverty, neglect, poor education and unemployment continues.
In March 2015, Hout Bay-based voiceover artist and mompreneur Kim Worrall teamed up with dance teachers Mandisa Qwesha and Nandipha Sandlala to establish Amoyo.
Their aim? To reach out to, and turn around the lives of, poor and marginalised children by encouraging them to engage with their bodies and minds through drama, dance and music in an invigorating, uplifting and nurturing environment.
“With every new dance step learnt, with every new drama skill acquired, with positive feedback each and every day, children blossom in ways that might seem unfathomable to many,” says Kim. “Almost without realising it, they acquire skills that give them the potential to conquer their futures successfully.”
With mounting confidence and self-worth – empowered by knowing the difference between good and bad choices, good and bad influences, good and bad people, and what their rights are as children in South Africa – they start making better progress in their school work and become leaders in their classes.
Amoyo may still be completely under-resourced in terms of facilities and equipment but we are over-resourced in our passion and desire to see every child light up with new dreams, a new comprehension of what life can offer, and the recognition that they are worthy of a life of happiness and success.