Nalibali1.jpgClowns are at it again! This time around we are bringing the laughter and joy to Cape Town. This tour is part of the South Africa-France Season 2012 and is a collaboration between Clowns Without Borders chapters from South Africa and France, as well as Nal’bali, a literacy campaign that encourages children to read.

Nal’ibali means “Here is a story” in isiXhosa. Yes, indeed, this is the story! 3 French clowns and 3 South African clowns and a Canadian\South African artistic director, a ton of books, newspapers and whole lot more!

Time is really tight. We only have 3.5 days of rehearsals before showtime. Nal’bali wanted a show that would help encourage children to read including routines with reading material such as books and newspapers.

It is challenging to work with different languages even with the translation because not everything can be translated with the same weight. The French don’t speak much English and 2 of us South African clowns don’t speak French. But because of our common language which CLOWN language we are getting by just fine.

Nalibali3.jpgIn our rehearsals we did a lot of improvisation work to help with ideas. It was an exciting journey to use books in many creative ways. The final product is a progression in literacy from no words to books, to newspapers.  It is in such a way that the audience can see that reading opens ones mind to many things.

The show consists of great routines with fools fooling around and a little magic. Even though our rehearsals were intense we still took the time to laugh. Our rehearsals will continue throughout the tour because we want to make sure that the show gets better every time.

The reception at our first schools in Khayelitsha and Crossroads was a BANG!! So much laughter from the children and everyone who was watching. One lady, who had a vegetable store near the school, closed shop because she wanted to see the show. “Laughter is good for a person and I wasn’t going to miss out,” she said in our little conversation after the show.

And this is just the beginning!

– Sussie Mjwara, 12-06-2012

Many thanks to the financial support of Europcar, National Arts Council, and Institut Francais!