You might want to check out the play “Take Off the Mask,” performed by visiting youth from Vinterveldt, South Africa on Friday, February 3rd at 7:30pm in Betts. They’re here thanks to a very cool program — go support their work and see their skills! For more information, keep reading.
Please join me on Feb. 3rd for the performance by youth from the Bokamoso Youth Centre, in Winterveldt, South Africa. It is the culmination of their week-long residency at GW.
Celebrate with us the ninth year of this cultural exchange between GW and the Centre staff and youth, as we premiere the new play we created in Summer 2011, titled Take Off the Mask, in the Marvin Center Betts Theatre at 7:30 p.m. The youth will also perform some of their poetry and traditional African song and dance, with a special guest appearance by the GW Troubadours.
I hope very much to see you there.
Accompanied each summer by my colleague, Roy Barber, a faculty member from St. Andrews Episcopal School, and by several GW students often funded by undergraduate research fellowships, I have journeyed to Winterveldt to work with the youth from the Bokamoso Youth Centre for the past nine years. All of us together have developed plays and songs that address issues and challenges in their community. In the summer of 2011, we were joined by 10 Masters students in the GW Art Therapy Program and Program Director, Heidi Bardot. Since 2004, youth from the Bokamoso Youth Centre have traveled to the U.S., living with DC families for the first 3 weeks, and staying with GW students for their final five days, attending classes, and performing at the Dorothy Betts Marvin Theatre of the George Washington University, to benefit the Centre and its scholarship program. They are staying at GW this year from Jan. 30th through Feb.3rd.
Created under the Apartheid regime in the early 1950’s, and situated about 30 miles northwest of Pretoria, this sprawling rural township (population of over 700,000) is plagued with many of the challenges of extreme poverty, including a 60% unemployment rate and 25% HIV/AIDS infection rate; family violence; teen pregnancy; and lack of educational opportunity. Yet despite these problems, the community is actively working to heal and restore its population, with contributions from various civic and religious organizations and private individuals. One of the most effective community organizations, the Bokamoso Youth Centre, works with at-risk youth to bring focus and hope to their lives, and to get them into school and training programs.