‘We’re Remoulding Street Kids with Dance, Storytelling’

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Two new-age stars in choreography, dance and storytelling will be guests on this week’s African Voices Changemakers series during which they will reveal how they use their passions to remould street kids. The Cable News Network (CNN) magazine programme is sponsored by Globacom.

Choreographer, film director, dancer and actor, Seyi Oluyole, 27, a Nigerian graduate of English and Literary Studies from Covenant University, will be joined on the show by her South African counterpart in dance and storytelling, Gcina Mhlophe.

Both personalities are currently empowering children through their chosen arts. Oluyole founded a non-governmental organisation named The Dream Nurture Foundation to cater for despondent street kids and indigent young adults whose hearts are crying to be nurtured.

A statement from Globacoom stated that she also provides educational opportunities for them through the NGO. Similarly, her dance academy, Dream Catchers, uses dance as a major tool in getting indigent children back to school in line with her belief that “every child deserves to succeed irrespective of their background”.

“To this end, she has successfully engaged such children in activities ranging from dance to drama and sports, while performing screenwriting for topnotch television series including Tinsel, Hustle and Gbera, a short film which she directed. Her commitment to the cause of children has attracted the attention of world music star, Rihanna, who recently tipped Oluyole’s mentees for stardom.

“Like Oluyole, 60-year-old Nokugcina Elsie Mhlophe, is a South African dancer, actress, storyteller, poet, playwright, director and author. To her, storytelling is a means of recounting the tales of subjugation during the apartheid years and the gains of freedom which the Rainbow Nation currently enjoys,” they said.

Born in KwaZulu Natal, Mhlophe started her working life as a domestic servant, progressed to a newsreader at the Press Trust and BBC Radio, and subsequently became a writer for Learn and Teach, a magazine for newly-literate post-apartheid South Africans. She remains one of the few female storytellers in the country and has employed her charismatic performances in four languages including English, Afrikaans, Zulu and Xhosa as a vehicle for encouraging South African children not only to read but also to imbibe the values espoused by her stories.

Mhlophe has performed in theatres in Soweto and London. A good number of her works have been translated into German, French, Italian, Swahili and Japanese. She has won the Obie Award for Performance as well as the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. She continues to traverse Africa and other parts of the globe, giving storytelling workshops on folklore, historical information, current affairs, songs and idioms.

CNN African Voices Changemakers will be broadcast on DSTV on Friday at 9.30 a.m. and on Saturday at 12.30 a.m., 4.30 p.m. and 8.30 p.m. Other repeat broadcasts come up on Sunday at 5.00 a.m., 9.30 a.m. and 8.30 p.m. with more repeats on Monday and Tuesday at 5.30 a.m. and 6.30 p.m. respectively.