Our mathematics conference, Woeker met Wiskunde, is held annually within a geographical focus area of the SBA and offers exactly what the name says: it inspires teachers to enter the mathematics classroom with new zeal and allow learners to make proper use of the development of skills in this field.
On 26 October, 89 teachers, representing grades R to 9, gathered at Springbok for this event. Newcomer educators as well as seasoned maths teachers agreed that the day brought about a total head shift regarding maths challenges in the classroom.
The day-long conference aims to provide quality training in Afrikaans by experienced specialists with proven experience to teachers. This is done through practical sessions that focus on content that can be implemented immediately in class.
The inclusion of exciting tools to stimulate learners’ curiosity and teach concepts practically is one of the highlights for attendees. Attendees also receive some of these resources to take back to their own classroom in order to make the newly acquired knowledge and strategies part of their own presentation.
During the planning phase of the SBA’s projects in the Cape community of Ocean View, one of the SBA’s geographical focus areas for 2021, it was inevitable to trace the narrative of this community – the stories told by others about the environment, but also the stories told by the community itself. And just here, the attention of SBA chair and theater legend, Dr Sandra Prinsloo, is gripped by the complex challenges facing the community around integrating released prisoners with their return to their own environment.
“Through community members’ stories, we have experienced how families are torn apart by crime and gang activities: brother against brother, cousin against cousin, children against father.” Desperate individuals standing in front of a closed door.
According to Dr Sandra Prinsloo, it was only a logical decision to weave a narrative through authentic stories to consider this community dilemma. “You can’t change someone’s behavior if you do not change their hearts and minds, and theater is for me the strongest weapon one has to do it.” The result: a community theater production.
Exploratory visits and research discussions to begin to understand the essence of these stories served as inspiration for Christo Davids to create the play The Ballroom Boy .
Six performances were presented in November in Ocean View, Vishoek, Muizenberg and Simonstad, respectively.
In the capable hands of director Nolan Africa, this story came to life and could become part of a larger framework within which the performance was used as a mirror in which each theater-goer had to look at himself and afterwards confront his perceptions during guided conversations about the experience. , facilitated by a partnership with Alternatives to Violence Project.
With this theater initiative of the SBA, the focus is on social and societal development. “The need is so great for people in this community to receive healing, and I think through theater one can do that – or open the door just a little bit so that people can see they can go through this door to a better place. . One can never force people; you can not convince or persuade them, but you can give them a glimpse of what is possible, ”said Dr Sandra Prinsloo.
3 questions to director Nolan Africa about the prisoner drama project
Director Nolan Africa’s extensive experience in interactive and educational theater and a master’s degree in Drama Therapy at the University of the Witwatersrand, made him the ideal candidate to approach the text of The Ballroom Boy with the necessary sensitivity and unlock the opportunity for social conversations. . We went to talk to him about his approach.
Was there anything specific to this text or project that caught your attention when you were approached to act as a director?
The fact that the story was based on real research attracted me. I was delighted to hear that the project also includes community workshops, as in my opinion this is the way in which projects make an impact. It is important to create an opportunity during which the voice of the community can be heard and to then address the needs that are articulated in this way, rather than assuming we know what type of intervention is needed in the community.
What were the challenges you experienced in tackling this project?
I remember watching video inserts on Youtube about gangs in Cape Town after taking the opportunity to direct The Ballroom Boy . Some of these videos made my heart beat faster. It was at this point that I received the confirmation that although this work is intimidating and challenging, it is so necessary. What I consider threatening and creating fear in me is the daily reality that so many people live with. And something needs to be done about this all the time.
What do you hope is the end of these performances within the communities involved?
I hope people will begin to see and respect the value of life. I hope gang members will not see innocent individuals as targets for violent actions. I hope that those who are not in gangs will focus on opportunities that can bring them an honourable existence, and I hope that those from privileged communities will realize that a soft word can encourage and sharp words can crack a soul.