Heidedal uplifts youth through the arts


Mariné Jacobs

Youngsters in Heidedal, Bloemfontein, are looking to the arts to help combat problems such as teenage pregnancies, school drop-outs, crime, drugs and violence in the community. The Heidedal Live Arts Consortium was started in July 2012 and has been growing ever since.  According to Cleevus Francis, a spokesperson for the consortium, the consortium was founded when a group of youngsters came together with the need to develop something positive within the Heidedal community that could change the lives of the youth. “Something to keep their minds occupied and at the same time providing a platform to showcase what talents and skills our children have,” says Francis. “Our main aim was to revive the arts within the Heidedal community.”

The consortium is a non-profit initiative and currently has approximately 50 members. “The group consists of dancers, singers, actors, poets, musicians, graphic designers and sound engineers, to mention a few,” says Francis. “We focus on all types of skills and talents, not only the arts. Each person brings to the table what he or she is able to, whether it is of monetary value or such as skills, talents or expertise. We make use of what we have.”

Francis says the reaction to the consortium since its inception has been extremely receptive and supportive. “The parents and elders are overwhelmed by the impact that we have made on their children’s lives. So the feedback we get from the community is positive, which motivates us to want to do more.” She continues to say that the consortium has already hosted various shows, all having been received well by the public. Their next project is a dance competition that is set to take place in May.

“The competition will consist of various crews within Heidedal, as well as dance crews outside Heidedal who will be battling it out on the dance floor,” says Francis. “Our doors are open to the youth,” says Francis. “Anyone is welcome to join this initiative and try to assist in making Heidedal a community that we are proud to belong to.” And the future certainly looks bright for these youngsters. “Our slot verse for the year is taken from Phillipians 4:13 which states ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’,” says Francis. “And this is where our motto comes from: Because we can!”

The winner of Ultimate Dance-off! Battle of the Best! will walk away with R5 000 in cash, as well as a dance video that will be produced by Heidedal Live. For more information, Francis can be contacted on 078-144-1483 or Allistair on 083-395-7944.