Last weekend 31 teenage girls from different Gauteng field bands were gathered in Daveyton, outside Johannesburg, for a music, dance and life skills workshop. PULSE arranged this pilot-project so that the field band girls could get to know each other, share stories and reflect upon some of the challenges they meet as girls in their home communities and field bands. Being only girls created a safe space for the girls to express themselves, take leadership roles and play and dance with great confidence. The workshop was all about empowering the girls to believe in themselves and their strengths and talents.
After some fun time on Friday with games, group work, dance and choir, the Saturday started off with a short performance for the tutors who arrived in Daveyton that morning. First the girls did a welcome dance to Uhuru’s hit Y-Tjukutja while the Dance tutor Pearl Ramatsella was screaming out encouragements; woza woza! After this, the girls performed a Norwegian song they learned Friday evening; “Seidama, Deidama”. This seemed to be a perfect introduction to the tutors that continued with teaching the girls a South African song, Ndandihleli Ebumnyameni! This song ended up with a clap-stamp where the girls were standing in a half-circle clapping their hands and going into the middle in turns, dancing. After the choir practise the day continued with sectionals; brass, percussion, pit and dance and fullband rehearsals on the main song of the weekend “Special Star” by the South African group Mango Groove. While practising music 4 hard-working volunteer Mamas were in full action cutting carrots for the amazing beef stew we got for lunch. This kept the energy level high during a great session with games and life skills. The good vibe kept the girls minds of the rats in the toilet facilities, the hard floor they had to sleep on and the bright lights that were on all night. In fact, the rats were only mentioned once, and not as a complaint but as a weapon to scare us tutors away at night when we were ordering the girl to sleep.
“Watch out, there is a rat, RUN!”
Sunday the workshop ended with a parade around the school area, with Mama Tumi driving a smashing turquoise Toyota Corolla in front of the parade. The girls were playing music, dancing and singing traditional field band songs which attracted many kids to follow the parade back to the school venue. At the school the young kids became the core audience for the final performance. We were also happy to see that many tutors, truck drivers, band coordinators, former and present FBF members and project officers had arrived to see the girls perform. The girls blew their minds and really proved the audience that they were capable of playing and dancing just as good as the field band boys. “GIRLS ROCK! GIRLS ROCK!“ was the slogan that was screamed out before the show started and we in PULSE can truly agree that the Gauteng Girls really ROCKED Daveyton this Sunday. It was a smashing performance consisting of Full Band and sectional songs with solos as well as choir and dance performances. All in all the weekend turned out to be a successful PILOT project. PULSE hopes to be able to arrange similar workshops in the future so that girls from different regions will get the same opportunity and so that also the field band boys can get their chance to rock.
Next week the PULSE group will continue their music and health work in the Northern Cape, look out for more updates.
Pictures by Aleksander Braathen