Thirty years ago Smal Ndaba and Phyllis Klotz recognised the need for a space that celebrated the magnificence of human spirit, the profound need for inclusion and most importantly the potential the arts have to provide a potent instrument for heritage preservation, community mobilisation and activism, and a tool to build social cohesion, community capacity and leadership.
Pooling their resources, life experience and diverse talents Ndaba and Klotz founded the Sibikwa Arts Centre in Daveyton on Gauteng’s East Rand. Primarily an arts programme for young people in Daveyton, the centre’s mission was and still is to promote quality arts education, theatre performance, vocational training and job creation in South Africa while preserving, promoting and protecting indigenous languages and cultural practices.
“It has been a long hard road to have achieved this milestone but worth every up and down when you see the young people who have been developed through the arts.”
says Phyllis Klotz co-founder of The Sibikwa Arts Centre.
Birthed in turbulent times, the centre tasked itself with bringing inclusive theatre and the arts to the communities it served. Through thought-provoking work, the centre challenged both young and old audiences to engage and enjoy theatre. In doing so it opened up dialogue, raised social awareness and cemented its role as a touchstone to country’s past. Over the last thirty years the centre has pioneered an arts model that fuses the educational possibilities of the arts with professional training and community development.
For the last three decades The Sibikwa Arts Centre has serviced the South African arts community by developing theatre and arts practitioners and administrators. Within its immediate metro of Ekurhuleni, Sibikwa serves over 3 million people while its teacher training and youth skills development programmes extend beyond Gauteng’s borders to Free State, North West, Mpumalanga and Eastern Cape. Furthermore, Sibikwa is an Accredited Service Provider with CATHSETA. This gives the centre the capacity to offer nationally recognised qualifications in the Performing Arts endorsed by both SAQA and the Department of Labour.
“Even though Sibikwa is a community arts centre in Benoni, it has managed to groom stars that are taking the performing arts and film industry by storm – these artists continue to proudly fly our flag high. Throughout the 30 years, all this was made possible by the generosity of our funders, without these donors, Sibikwa wouldn’t be where it is today,”
says Smal Ndaba co-founder of The Sibikwa Arts Centre.
Phyllis Klotz, artistic director and co-founder of the Sibikwa Arts Centre in Benoni has been at the forefront of arts training and development for girls and young women for over 40 years; her work has always been focused on the empowerment of young black females. During the 1970’ies and 80’ies Phyllis worked in the Cape Flats where she taught drama at CAP. She has been involved in developmental theatre and arts education for many years and is recognised as an expert in the development of community arts centres. She is the recipient of several awards for her contribution to South African theatre. Phyllis directed and co-wrote the seminal theatre piece ‘You Strike a Woman, You Strike a Rock’ and was voted one of the ten major contributors to the South African performing arts by the Star newspaper. She was instrumental in organising the first post-apartheid arts education conference and in founding the Gauteng Organisation for Community Arts and Culture Centres (GOMACC); she served on the boards of the NAC, State Theatre and CATHSSETA. Phyllis is a recipient of the Naledi Lifetime Achievement Award.
Smal Ndaba: co-founder and managing director of the Sibikwa Arts Centre. As an actor, playwright and director he has toured all over Southern Africa, the USA and Europe and has gained both national and international recognition for his work. He has initiated arts programmes to assist street children and juvenile prisoners; he assists South African and Mozambican community arts centres to build capacity. The majority of plays directed and written by Smal, focus on community issues. Smal has over 30 years’ experience working in the community arts and imparts his knowledge frequently through conducting workshops in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana and the USA. He is joint winner of the Naledi Lifetime Achievement Award 2005 with co-director Phyllis Klotz.