• Partners & Affiliations

    ComArt, a partner in the District Six Museum’s

    Based in Elsies River on the Cape Flats, ComArt (Community Arts Association) is a non-profit organisation making a unique contribution to shaping and influencing people’s lives.

    At the heart of all this is an awareness of heritage as an inspiration leading to a proud celebration of hope and achievement while enabling access to and participation in enjoyment of the arts as cultural expression, close to where people live. We understand heritage to be one of the ways through which to deal with questions of identity, as identities have a fundamental component which is historical. Our programmes are designed to reflect how people perceive and represent themselves as well as the way they are viewed by others.

    Elsies River has been characterised as a highly challenged environment, burdened by socio-economic problems resulting from unemployment and low-income levels. In this context, positive perceptions are often blurred and access to opportunities is limited. Hence the need to continually create exciting possibilities that will increase people’s choice range and eventually impact on levels of poverty.

    We have experienced the celebration of heritage as hugely empowering. It has helped to facilitate processes leading to the rediscovery of identity, creating a sense of belonging while taking people on a journey involving the restoration of values. The journey embraces freedom to choose one’s own destiny while unlocking extraordinary creative potential which creates new memory-makers which leave legacies for generations to come.

    Given this context, heritage has emerged as the foundation for ComArt ’s related focus area of arts and culture. As an integrated whole they become vehicles for individual and community development.

    Programme
    ComArt’s varied programme has a number of dimensions. The development programme offers an integrated approach to celebrating heritage, creating access , developing skills and nurturing talent. Young people and women have been identified as priority target groups and currently more than 300 participants are involved in various projects of which the main ones are listed below:

    • Heritage: Memory development; storytelling; historical site tours; historical research; family history; photographic archiving; traditional toys and games
    • Music: Choral & instrumental music;music literacy
    • Dance: Spanish, contemporary & line dancing
    • Drama: Youth theatre; stage production & performance
    • Story Writing & Photography

    Other additional activities relating to lifeskills; Information Technology resources; health & wellness; hiking & environmental awareness; management and leadership development are also provided.

    Constituency Building
    ComArt is well positioned to interact and collaborate with other organisations and institutions in Elsies River. This is primarily the result of broad-based community participation and to some extent the central location of our office in the Multi-Purpose Centre.

    Our focus on heritage has enabled building further networks in the community contributing to strengthening the social fabric. Establishing the Elsies River Heritage Forum in 2005 represents a major milestone in this regard. This forum creates a platform for Elsies River residents, former as well as current, from diverse backgrounds to meet on a monthly basis to share experiences and have conversations on a wide range of topics. It is an ideal platform for facilitating both community and nation building processes.

    Music forms an integral and vibrant component of the community building process. The community choirs for adults and young people have not only acquired new meaning through the realisation of being rooted in rich musical traditions, but have also broadened ComArt ‘s constituency and support base by serving as public flagships for the organisation and the community. MUSEDI, a music education programme, provides access to musical skills development and training for young people in Elsies River, including those who are members of the Christmas Choirs.

    Establishing a strong working relationship with the District Six Museum has indeed been immensely beneficial to ComArt. The museum staff not only provide valuable insight serving as a mentoring source but also facilitates interaction with other heritage organisations in the City.

    Embracing the arts as vehicle for contribution in building community the journey ComArt has embarked on is one firmly rooted in our heritage proudly affirming the rich cultural diversity of the South African nation.