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Creativity Together

The pandemic severely impacted young people’s mental health all over the world due to disruptions in education and limited access to a broader network. South Africa recorded one of the highest caregiver deaths for young people. The 12- to 13- age group was hit far worse than adults. Many young people experienced loneliness, unhappiness, and stress. Uncertainties remain for the future, and for example the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development is calling for more responsive, strengthened, and integrated mental health services for young people to support them and allow this generation to bounce back.

With this context in mind, the CWBSA project, Creativity Together, led by Emilie Owen Raposo and facilitators, Abueng Mkhonza, Empress Tallowah, and Thabo Ramaine in Johannesburg aimed to use a variety of arts such as drama, drawing, and dance in combination with play to address stress and anxiety amongst young people.

The overall goal was to test the module with non-profit partner, Lefika La Phodiso, in Johannesburg, and then develop a capacity building approach to train community facilitators. CWBSA aimed to provide a resource for facilitators to use in their after-school work with young people throughout lockdowns or in more ‘normal’ times.

“We have had to focus on building trust and safety in an environment where these do not come easily,” mentions Emilie Owen Raposo, “we are meeting a group every week who live in the inner-city of Johannesburg and experience violence and insecurity in their every-day lives, on top of this we have Covid-19. We want to develop this work with them, and really hear them. What is coming up repeatedly is the high level of violence in their communities and how they are often taught by adults to retaliate with force to any threat or discomfort.”


Project Lead, Delia Meyer and team, Peggy Tunyisa, Anele Kose, Abigal Mei and Natasha Magengelele are in process of producing a new performance for parents and caregivers of 3-9 year old children in Cape Town. It is an interactive show where the highs and lows of parenting and families will be addressed, offering audience members an opportunity to give feedback and find solutions.
“I thought it was an extremely worthy cause to work with others to alleviate the suffering of children and build healthy societies,” says Delia Meyer, “ I am looking forward to working with the PLH manual as it is based on a sound foundation. We are working with Theatre of the Oppressed techniques to develop interactive theatre, so it will be experiential for our audience and fun.

Literacy campaign

Nal’ibali (isiXhosa for “here’s the story”) is a national reading-for-enjoyment campaign to spark children’s potential through storytelling and reading. Nal’ibali is built on the simple logic that a well-established culture of reading can be a real game-changer for education in South Africa. 

Clowns Without Borders South Africa and Nal’ibali launched a year-long social mobilisation campaign in March 2019 to encourage children, youth and families to access libraries in order to enjoy reading, as well as seeing it as a safe space, where they can read, hear stories, be with friends or have a quiet time.

Many children and families may feel libraries are not accessible to them, but this campaign proves them wrong!! It is to support the overall campaign in South Africa to improve literacy levels of all children, as well as to show them how reading can help you dream and create the life you would like!

CWBSA has created a new performance about reading to show children, teachers and parents how it can open up new worlds – working with storytelling, physical theatre, games and laughter, the show brings books alive, also breaking down typical stereotypes that exist in our society.

Make WASH Fun

The aim of the project was to share the CWB Learning Through Laughter & Play approach to creative facilitation with community workers in Gqeberha, and also to explore Putting A Red Nose on Hygiene Promotion, The CWB team used the Laughter & Play cookbook as a resource and empowered local community workers to understand and implement play as an essential tool for engaging children and their community.

As hygiene is a life changing practice, this project aimed to “put a red nose on it” which means to make it more fun, engaging, and inclusive. The CWB team used playful approaches such as songs, games, and storytelling to support hygiene messaging and build trust within this resilient yet also vulnerable community. It aimed to move away from the feeling of judgment and shame and towards togetherness and cleanliness.

The CWB team worked with World Vision, and 3 community-based organisations (CBOs) in the Gqeberha location (Sihlambesinye Community Service & Jongizizwe CBO, Monique Haven and Masibambisane HBC) that are working in a wide range of contexts from crèches, schools and after school clubs, to soup kitchens, garden projects and groups for people with disabilities. The CWB team facilitated a 5-day training in person with online follow up sessions.

“The show was very interesting both to learners and educators. We all enjoyed the activities and dramatisation. It teaches us as educators to apply the same skill to learners. Language development is a very important thing learners must acquire.”
– Mrs Sibongile Msomi (Delani Primary), about the literacy campaign performance