AfrikaBurn 2024: 29 April to 5 May

Report Back on Spark Grants 2023

Eight Spark Grants were awarded to projects involving Burners from Space.

These grants aim to ignite small community based projects that embody the guiding principles in our default world. The eight participants, from various provinces across the country, were given a timeframe of five months to complete their tasks through this project from the month of August 2023 to January 2024.

 

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During the period from August 2023 to January 2024, Ayanda Khambule from Johannesburg  embarked on a mural painting project across various locations, including flats in Ext28, Vosloorus; a public wall on Khumalo Street, Thokoza; Khatorus Art Centre in Katlehong; Izibusiso Local Supermarket in Meadowlands, Soweto; the hostel at Sam Ngema in KwaThema; Davyton Taxi Rank in Davyton; Palmridge Multipurpose Park in Palmridge; 4490 Zembe Street in Vosloorus; Lebos Backpacker in Mzimhlophe, Soweto; the sports ground in Villa Liza; and Tsakane Hostel in Tsakane. The project involved a structured approach, beginning with locating the wall or designated area on day 1, followed by collaborating with artists or graffiti artists on day 2, building the design on day 3, and finally painting the mural on day 4. Through collaboration with artists such as Thobani, Thato, AWDS, Yarah, Mzwaks, Toka, and various community members, the project aimed to activate art in less fortunate spaces, enriching the cultural vibrancy of the community. The immediate benefits included the activation of art in these spaces and the appreciation of art by community members and passersby, contributing to the beautification of the areas and uplifting the spirits of those who encountered the murals. Overall, the project provided an opportunity for artistic expression and community engagement, enriching the lives of both artists and residents alike.

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A day devoted to celebrating and disseminating the Khoikhoi First Nation language, culture, and narratives, while also serving as a forum for the community to exchange memories and experiences of the Khoikhoi heritage. The event, held in Lavender Hill, Western Cape, drew a crowd of 21 adults and 2 children.The project collaborated with Faith Baptist Church and the Lavender Hill Elders Project, benefiting the community by providing a healing space for elders to address their historical trauma while emphasising the significance of preserving Khoikhoi First Nation language and culture. This initiative aimed to foster intergenerational communication, enabling elders to pass down their heritage to younger generations, including their children and grandchildren.

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The Good Samaritan in Bellville applied for the Spark Grant to install a public toilet initially intended for street people who lacked access to public facilities. However, once installed, ordinary individuals, particularly during weekends, also utilised the toilet. The project commenced in July and August for design and manufacture, followed by testing and evaluation from September until the present, situated in the Karoo street parking area of Bellville CBD.

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The frail care centre in Klerksdorp, Northern Cape, took a stand and applied for the Spark Grand with a project aimed at celebrating the elderly members of their community. This event, held in December 2023, benefited 23 frail care patients and 11 caregivers. Additionally, the centre collaborated with a local church and preschool, involving approximately 30 children aged two to six, along with five teachers and 15 mothers. Together, they fostered an atmosphere of love and care during this memorable time.

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About 66 children and 30 adults participated in this project and established an interactive theatre initiative aligned with the “Leave No Trace” Principle program, specifically designed for children. This innovative approach serves as an immersive method to impart crucial lessons about outdoor ethics and responsible conduct in nature. The program incorporates dynamic elements such as drama skits, role-playing, and active audience participation, ensuring that children are actively engaged in learning the significance of respecting the environment.Over a span of three months, they orchestrated three performance-building activities and conducted two workshops with children, resulting in two live performances. Furthermore, The group delivered two interactive theatre presentations in collaboration with other organisations, both centred around the theme of environmental cleanup.

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Masibambisane hosted the Tshwane Art Hub Workshop on October 27, 2023, creating a day brimming with inspiration, creativity, and educational enrichment. The workshop successfully introduced 65 school kids, specifically Grade 7 students from SEDIBA SA THUTO Primary school in Mamelodi East, to the realms of Upcycling, Drawing, and Painting. This endeavour aimed to leave a lasting impact, fostering a generation of mindful and artistic individuals. The success of this initiative was made possible through the collaboration with Tshwane Art Hub, whose invaluable support contributed to the resounding success of this project and workshop. Tsepo Maseko sends his Special gratitude to the dedicated school teachers whose efforts, contributing 65 rounds per learner, significantly impacted their ability to compensate the artists who passionately shared their skills during the workshop. They are also grateful to the talented artists involved in this project for lending their expertise to facilitate the workshop.

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The Art Sparks club commenced in September and ran through November in Manenberg. It occurred every 2nd Saturday, with each creative session lasting approximately 4 hours. The sessions, attended by an average of over 25 children of various ages, initially took place in a church hall off Thames Avenue. Subsequently, all sessions were hosted in Rene W’s modest 3 x 3-metre home lounge.

This diverse group of emerging artists, spanning from infants to teenagers, boys and girls alike, found a shared space of inclusion where they could express themselves artistically. Collaborating harmoniously towards common goals, they freely exchanged knowledge and skills, engaging in both teaching and learning. Beyond artistic growth, their participation fostered positive relations, improved social cohesion, and potentially formed new and stronger friendships. Notably, there was a decrease in conflicts, territorial behaviours, and bullying, replaced by increased collaboration, sharing, and openness. Another significant benefit was the opportunity for each participant to simply be themselves—creative, mindful, and surrounded by like-minded individuals in their creative tribe. Importantly, their involvement empowered them to actively shape their reality, find their authentic voice, and leave a lasting mark through co-creation with the world.

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The Stutterheim SPCA is dedicated to promoting animal wellness in Stutterheim, and periodically calls on the community to participate in its efforts. In 2023, everyone was urged to donate as many plastic bottles and plastic bags as possible. These materials were used to construct a recycled-material shelter for both produce and animals. With the assistance of funds from the Spark Grant, the SPCA was able to complete the project by acquiring necessary building materials such as cement, sand, and zinc sheets. The shelter can accommodate up to 5 large animals (donkeys, horses, cows) or up to 10 small animals (sheep, goats, dogs). When not in use by the animals, the shelter serves as storage for animal feed. The project was a collaboration between the SPCA and the Spark Grant. The dedicated SPCA staff played a significant role in constructing the shelter, from filling plastic bottles with plastic bags to assembling the structure from the ground up. While they cannot express it themselves, the medium to large animals now have a warm, dry shelter on rainy days in Stutterheim, making them the happiest beneficiaries. The SPCA now has additional space for animals and feed, benefiting the community as a whole.

Author: Zimkita Ntywankile

 

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