10th October 2007 | Other items by Administrator
Johannesburg born visual artist and musician Stompie Selibe is a multi-talented individual. He not only creates beautiful artworks and music but he is also involved in community outreach programmes. He has been trained in art therapy at The Art Therapy Centre in Johannesburg six years ago. His training has given him the tools to work with different people who have experienced many things ranging from abuse, rape and living with HIV. He also uses his skills to work with teenagers sharing his passion and talents for the arts.
In the past two years he has been involved specifically with the Living Together Project, which operates in a number of schools in the Gauteng area such as Duduza, Orange Farm and in Indian communities.
It is hardly surprising at all of Stompie’s hard work has born fruit. He has been invited for the second year in a row to represent South Africa at the annual Global Performing the World 4 conference in Terrytown. He and three other South African representatives will be doing a presentation on the growth and progress of their community projects. ”It will be a collaborative presentation, we have a classical musician, a performance artist (theatre), a spoken word artist and myself [a visual artists and musician]… I will talk about the music and how I manage to integrate the therapy part of it into my lessons.”said Selibe
Attendees from all over the world will be taking part in the conference which seeks to bring together individuals and groups that use the arts as a tool of facilitation in their community projects, and give them a chance to learn from other facilitators. The conference also presents an opportunity for the various people involved to be recognised for the work they do in their communities.
Since 2006 he has been working on a project with teenagers aged between fifteen and twenty at Constitution Hill. He uses his training to work in various ways and uses psychology, music and art as a tool for healing. The location of the classes has presented an opportunity for the learners to be exposed to the history of their country at this important site in South Africa. The learners have been familiarised with the stories of the location and also some of the former prisoners of Apartheid who were held there.
Selibe has worked out a programme that incorporates both his music and art knowledge and has named the programme “Democracy begins in Composition”. The programme involves the following: different issues concerning the constitution, democracy and freedom are explored; a colleague then works with the same group and shares with them writing skills and introduces them to various forms of literature. With this combination of disciplines the learners are given a well-rounded arts education and in the end can discover for themselves where their strengths lie. They have the added advantage of having a trained counsellor on hand whenever there is a need for someone to listen.
The Living Together Project has arranged for over eighty-five learners to be part of the programme and so far it has had great results. The learners have been afforded the opportunity to gain radio presenting skills at Ulwazi Community radio station, through their own initiative. They have had guest speakers come and talk to them on issues such as child abuse, rape, sexual issues. “They see change from the processes that they are being exposed to.”
In addition to the Constitution Hill project Stompie also works with learners at the Bag Factory in Newton, Johannesburg. There he draws from the palette of artists that work within the space. There are various artists there at any given time and he invites them to work with the learners on specific projects. He has been working closely with artist in residence. Chike is an artist from Nigeria and he was involved in community work back in Nigeria and he has offered his skills to the learners and been a valuable contributor to the classes.
When asked about the effect that his work has had on the groups he has worked with Stompie said, “You don’t want to change people, you facilitate and understand where they are, and you meet them [there]. It’s important not to give advice, not interrupt or to try and fix. You must allow someone to express themselves.”
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