from FUTHI MBHELE in Durban, South Africa
KwaZulu Natal Bureau
DURBAN, (CAJ News) – IN almost three decades of existence, the KwaMashu Community Advancement Projects (K-CAP) centre has established itself as a conveyor belt of top-level talent in South Africa’s entertainment landscape.
Its impact is felt on global stages, underlining a meteoric rise from humble beginnings to iconic status.
Located in the B section of this popular KwaZulu-Natal township north of Durban, the centre has groomed some household names that entertain local homes on a daily basis and regularly wow global audiences, on tour.
“We are proud to be a home for many of KZN’s most exciting artists, who captivate audiences on stage, screen, and across the world,” enthused Centre Manager, Thobile Ximba.
Current Artistic Director, Edmund Mhlongo, founded K-CAP in 1993, a year before the advent of democracy in South Africa.
Some stars groomed at the centre include Velile Makhoba, Nompilo Maphumulo, Nonkululeko Mbatha, Brenda Mhlongo, Nombulelo Mhlongo, Samukele Mkhize and Xolani Ngema.
They have established themselves in local productions such as Gomora, Durban Gen, Skeem Saam, The Black Door, The River, The Wife and Uzalo.
Through its Theatre Company, K-CAP has been true ambassadors of South African quality artistic works internationally.
This includes tours to New York (the United States, 2005), United Kingdom (1996-2000), Poland (2006), Bahamas (2005), Paris and Nantes (France2006), Indonesia (2008), Malaysia (2001), Denmark (1996), US (2011), Guangzhou (China, 2011), Milan (Italy 2011) and New Orleans (2012/2016).
K-CAP is passionate and fully dedicated to theatre development and advancement of youth performing artists’ skills in this field –with a very good track record.
Most performing artists trained through K-CAP has had international exposure opportunities – with no less than 22 having been recruited by Disney’s Lion King Musical.
This is in line with K-CAP’s mission to discover, develop and expose creative talents from KZN communities.
K-CAP operates at its unique Ekhaya Multi Arts Centre, which was officially opened by then deputy president, Jacob Zuma, in 2003.
“Its activities have a footprint throughout KZN, partnering with organisations and community arts centres,” Ximba explained.
Its operations are complemented by the cutting across themes on gender equality, leadership, women empowerment, arts therapy, environmental, fourth industrial revolution, healthy living and nutrition education, arts culture and heritage.
There is also a focus on comprehensive Afrika Knowledge Systems (AKS), ex-offender’s incorporation to society, intergenerational gap bridging with senior’s citizens and young people, anti-crime and HIV/AIDS awareness programmes.
“K-CAP’s keen focus is on working with Afrika youth and young people development, emphasising importance of Afrika Knowledge, assisting youth to growing up as balanced socially responsible citizens, utilising the indigenous understanding of what it means to be a young man and a young woman,” Ximba explained.
She said their role in the community arts is to promote art, culture and heritage meaningfully.
“A presenter of quality creative innovative integrated arts programs and events, a producer of lasting shared community relationships, a catalyst for artists, creative people and arts organizations and a leader in arts learning and development,” Ximba added.
– CAJ News