Thap dances the youth into art


After three years of existence, Tourism Heritage Arts Progess (thap) a school for talented students has decided to come to the Free State to train 50 students between the ages of 18 and 35 in different aspects of the performing arts, from the administrative to the business side, up to where they will be able to perform on stage.

Speaking to managing director of the school, Lorraine Letwaba, Bloemfontein Courant was told that students currently being trained, will be showcasing their talent by performing a musical drama on 30 September to celebrate Heritage Month. “The show will be both physical and visual,” Letwaba said.

Letwaba explained that the school is accredited by the Sector Education and Training Authority (Seta) and at the end of the year every student will receive a certificate. She added that they have eight students who are not from Bloemfontein whose accommodation fees are covered for the duration of the programme. Thap is planning to have three shows in total for the year with the students they currently have. They have already had one show but they are not fully happy with how it went, so they are planning to redeem themselves on 30 September with a show called Reflection.

For this year’s programme, only students from Free State have been selected and students were required to have a matric certificate. “We audition every student before accepting them. We do this to see if a student is really passionate about art or if they are just playing games. We want people filled with passion, hunger, people who want to be in the industry until infinity,” Letwaba said.

Letwaba was inspired to be part of the school by her personal passion to help the youth to develop into something bigger in their communities, especially by helping them to reach their goals. “My goal is to have different exit strategies. I have already spoken to the South African National Youth Development Agency to help us with one of the exit strategies. They will be helping us with a management course, which will be for five days and which will focus on helping the students with how to write proposals, whom to approach for funding and how to go about it.”

Letwaba explained that her proudest moment has been seeing the students perform on big stages and using what they have learned at Thap in the real world. “What I am also proud of, is making sure that our artists know the administrative side of their businesses, because a lot of artists get scammed due to the lack of knowledge of what happens behind the scenes.”

She concluded by saying they want to see more children from rural areas in the school, that is why they will be doing an outreach between December and January. They will also be having a two-day show as a tribute to Frank Leepa in December. “We will definitely still be in Bloemfontein/Free State next year and we want to be here forever, but our plans will be determined by funding,” she concluded.

Corn Koteli