About a month before opposition politicians lambasted President Cyril Ramaphosa for outlining his dreams for a future South Africa, a small group on the Cape Flats were encouraging about 25 young choral singers to imagine better lives for themselves.
The management team of the Junior Rosa choir had begun preparing the kids –mainly from Manenberg and Langa – for their first mini-production called Dare to Dream, held on 6 July 2019 in Wynberg.
The choir was formed three years ago, based on the principles of the adult Rosa choir that is uniquely diverse in its membership and its multilingual delivery of songs. Both choirs, together with various other projects, fall under the banner of the fast growing Cape Cultural Collective.
The Project Manager of the choir, Aziza Davids, herself an accomplished singer and youth development activist, delivered the following poem during the production, that encapsulated the essence of the theme;
Sometimes our goals and destinations
Seem so astronomical and very scary
But we dream about pursuing them anyway
Daring to dream gives us
What gives our lives meaning
Is the ability to make a difference
It is about living authentically
And surrendering to a higher power
Beyond our dreams
Dare to dream
Dare to succeed
Dare to fail
Dare to live
Dare to grow
Dare to be different
Dare to dream
The theme unfolded through various rehearsals and practices and was delivered through song, dance and drama.
The originator of the theme, Janine Parenzee, who is the choir director, said that the message for the children in the last few months has been that they must not allow their personal circumstances to stop them from imagining a better future.
“As the years go by, they must continue to dream about what they could possibly become,” she said.
Naturally, fundamental social transformation is the only way for children to break out of a cycle poverty and realise their full potential. Structural changes are required in the economy, in health care, education and safety.
But there must no underestimating the power of the Arts in changing lives. The children are increasingly integrating across language, cultural and geographical divides. The Arts visibly boosts their confidence and gives them a sense of belonging. Research has shown that music and drama enhances the cognitive abilities of young people and enables them to become more complete human beings.