In 2005 we formed a link with Mamelodi in South Africa.
This link was initiated to help reach the Millenium Development Goals, to raise awareness of global issues and to underpin the work of the Derbyshire-based charity the Mamelodi Trust, which was founded to support education in South Africa.
Mamelodi is situated on the north eastern outskirts of Pretoria, South Africa and is a former black township of around one million inhabitants, comparable in size to Soweto.
Mamelodi Arts Exchange - Educational Twinning Project 2006
Between January and September 2006 we carried out an educational twinning project, partly funded by Arts Council England, for two African artists to work with creative communities and schools in Derbyshire.
The Mamelodi Arts Project aimed to embed a global dimension into the school curriculum in Derbyshire, whilst giving two visitors from Mamelodi, the opportunity to work with the arts communities to develop a diverse networking system for them to us eon their return to Africa.
The visiting artists Paepae Mmekwa and Tshegofatso Masoga delivered arts workshops in African literature, dance, music, poetry and drama, which were very well received; the artists generated a real sense of enthusiasm for learning amongst the pupils. They also delivered short talks on South Africa detailing environmental, political, geographical and social issues. They also worked with teachers to raise awareness of the HIV/Aids situation both in South Africa and in Britain.
The visitors worked with Derbyshire-based arts group the Babbling Vagabonds to produce a touring piece, which was showcased at Bakewell Festival. The Babbling Vagabonds developed their link with Paepae and Tshegofatso when they visited Mamelodi to perform the story in Africa.
Derbyshire – Usuthu Partnership 2009
Since the development of the arts link with Mamelodi, creative projects have occurred on an annual basis between the two regions. Paepae Mmekwa is the director of Usuthu Arts Productions in South Africa, in 2009 ten artists from this company will visit Derbyshire with Paepae to perform a touring piece called ‘Foot-Joy’ to schools and community groups around the county.
This project is linked to aspects of community cohesion. The Derbyshire-Usuthu Partnership will further enhance the strength and sustainability of the link between the two regions.
You can see the performance of ‘Foot-Joy’ at Wirksworth Festival.