AN INTERACTIVE POETRY MASTERCLASS

Cape Town arts festival, City Arts Festival

Balelwa Basse

Bulelwa Basse is the visionary behind Lyrical Base Project, a notable organization dedicated to advancing the literary and performing arts. Focused on uplifting writers and performing artists from marginalized communities in South Africa, the project achieves this through community publishing initiatives and provides a platform for showcasing talents at corporate events, government functions, and local cultural gatherings.

In addition to her work with Lyrical Base Project, Bulelwa is the founder of Sisters in Solidarity South Africa, a transformative organisation empowering women across the nation. Through comprehensive Skills Development, Capacity Building Workshops, Career Development, and Financial Education Workshops, the organization equips women to navigate various aspects of life successfully. Bulelwa’s initiative, Sisters in Solidarity SA, actively engages South Africans in the art of managing finances effectively. Collaborating with financial experts, she imparts strategic budgeting and saving techniques, promoting self-empowerment and encouraging investments in families and communities.

Passionately dedicated to addressing the challenges faced by youth and women, Bulelwa endeavors to disseminate relevant information within rural areas, townships, and peri-urban communities, fostering community development. Her aspiration extends to traveling across the African continent, engaging communities, and establishing pathways toward self-sustainability. She firmly believes that collective community efforts to nurture available resources can serve as a global exemplar.

Furthermore, Bulelwa proudly holds the role of ambassador for Brand South Africa’s Play Your Part Initiative, embodying the ethos of making a difference within one’s means and context. While she cherishes her South African heritage, she envisions herself as a citizen of the world. Drawing inspiration from her Grandmother and mother, she advocates for mentorship and empowerment, impacting both the young and old.

Bulelwa’s literary contributions have found a home in esteemed platforms like the Poetry Institute of Africa, the University of KwaZulu Natal Press, Oprah Magazine, and publications supported by the Department of Arts and Culture. As a performing artist, she has collaborated with distinguished institutions including Arts Cape Theatre, British Council, Centre for the Book, the South African Museums, and the Steve Biko Foundation.

In her expansive career, Bulelwa has collaborated with various national and international community development organizations, literary establishments, and creative arts centers. Her versatility as a Writer, Performing Artist, Arts & Culture Activist/Ambassador, Artist Manager, Community Development Practitioner, Corporate MC/Programme Director, Project Director/Events Coordinator, and Language Facilitator has enabled her to serve as a mouthpiece for the important cause of 16 Days of Activism against Women and Children Abuse. Her impactful roles, often intertwined with guest speaking engagements, have enriched numerous communities with her philosophy—encouraging proactive involvement and inspiring ordinary lives to evolve into a empowered society.

Cape Town Arts Festival

Fatima Dike

Fatima Royline Dike is rightfully known as the “Mother of South Africa’s Drama.” Her profound dedication is evident as she nurtures the next generation of theatre professionals in South Africa. My plate is currently overflowing with work, as I’m engrossed in preparing for the Grade 12 English drama setwork, culminating in a final dress rehearsal today. Our opening night is just around the corner, and the esteemed author, John Kani, is coming!’’ The excitement is palpable!

Fatima speaks passionately about the “Grade 12 English Drama Set Works,” a program within the Siyasanga Cape Town Theatre Company, which she co-founded in 2002 alongside her partners, Professor Roy Sargeant and Paul Regenass. Within the company, she wears multiple hats, serving as both manager and director. This initiative brings students to the theatre to witness their drama set works come to life on stage. In 2007, the company expanded its reach by taking these budding professionals’ productions to schools that couldn’t otherwise afford such experiences.

As a playwright, the theatre served as an effective and fiery weapon against the oppressive Apartheid regime. Her body of dramatic work from 1976 to 2015 is extensive and includes notable works such as “The Sacrifice of Kreli” (1976), the first Black female playwright’s work to be published in an anthology titled “Theatre One: New South African Drama.” Her other noteworthy works encompass pieces like “The First South African” (1977), “The Crafty Tortoise” (1978), “Glasshouse” (1979), “So What’s New?”, “Women’s Voices,” “Street Walking & Company,” “AIDS: The Next Generation,” “The Middle Passage,” “Ama-Join/The Migrant Labourers,” and more.

In addition to her impressive body of work, Fatima also contributed to “New Day,” an Artscape production that explored the first ten years of democracy in South Africa. She provided two one-act plays, “Sandulela (The Dawn)” and “Housing For All,” which were later published in the District Six anthology of plays. “The Return,” another of her plays published by Junkets, made waves at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in 2009 and garnered attention at the National Black Arts Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA.

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