Passing down art skills

Patience Bambalele

Patience Bambalele

The Ifa Lethu Foundation is hosting its Winter School Project for the country's youth because it believes it is important that young people keep the visual arts alive.

Young people from across South Africa have come together for two weeks at Uncle Tom's Hall in Orlando West, Soweto, to be coached by older and established artists.

Artists such as Sipho Ndebele, Pauline Mazibuko and Moss Masuku have been roped in to share their knowledge and skills with the younger generation.

Ndebele says: "Our aim is to encourage and develop the art skills of young people. Youngsters will be assisted in painting, drawing, linocut, collage and so on. Those who show promise will continue getting assistance even after the programme ends."

Ndebele says the youths have shown passion and are working hard.

Nkosinathi Sibisi, a youngster from Soweto, says the programme has helped him a lot.

"I do art at school but we do not get enough time to practise," Sibisi says. "Since joining the project I have noticed a huge difference in my technique."

Project manager Brown Maaba says: "We have realised the importance of transferring the skills of older artist to the youth. We want to keep the spirit of art and skills alive in this country.

"The project was introduced to fight poverty while opening job opportunities for older artists."

Ifa Lethu Foundation was launched by Arts and Culture Minister Pallo Jordan in 2005.

Maaba says: "The aim of the programme is also to repatriate township art, which was taken out of the country during apartheid.

"This form of art was produced by black artists and mostly in the townships at the height of the apartheid era.

"Some of it was produced by black South African artists living in exile."