Ngwana Kgotso ha a lebale tsa kgotsong is a Sesotho expression that contextualises a child’s lived experience and how it impacts their immediate environment. The expression can loosely be translated to mean a peaceful environment that one grows in, shapes and makes who they become later on in life. In return, such people create a peaceful environment for others. Our current environment is dominated by massive contradictions of inequalities, poverty, wealth and ideologies. Consequently, it takes a lot of courage to embrace the spirit of returning the goodness that has been offered to one and extending a peaceful environment for others.
I have experienced this goodness from ASSITEJ International as well as from ASSITEJ SA, through their tireless efforts to promote environments of creativity, collaboration and mutual respect to those working with and for children.
In other environments, the month of December does not symbolise the year end. For example this month, Tshitwe, marks the fifth month for Basotho calendar and for Ethiopians, their calendar is seven years and eight months behind the Western calendar. In other environments, the dominant narrative of Christmas and its traditions is not known, and neither is Santa Claus…
Nevertheless, I would like to take this moment to offer a special gift in the form of gratitude. I would like to thank ASSITEJ International and ASSITEJ SA for the gifts they are to the world.
I would like to thank Yvette Hardie for steering both ASSITEJ International and ASSITEJ SA amidst turbulent environments, from fundraising to creating thriving organisations, whose reputation for enabling an environment of Protection, Participation and Provision of services as contained in instruments such as the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) is unique.
I would like to thank Nkosivumile Lusu for looking after the financial transactions of the ASSITEJ SA, ensuring accountability for funds that have been entrusted under the organisation’s care. I hope Oksanna Bixa and Miriam Mayet have learnt something during their time of internship.
To Alison Green for leading the Kickstarter Creative Arts Empowerment Project, ensuring that the Department of Basic Education’s Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) is delivered by inspired and knowledgeable teachers, especially as it relates to the Creative Arts or the use of the arts as a method toward learning.
To Tsholofelo Shounyane for feeding our souls with stories with iStimela Sendaba and leading a formidable team of storytellers in the country and beyond.
To Kwanele Finch Thusi for sustaining the organization’s presence through different channels of communication that include social media.
To all the provincial Theatre4Youth Coordinators for ensuring that the vision of enabling every child to go to the theatre flickers even when Covid 19 dares to make it impossible, and most particularly our permanent staff members in the Western Cape, Faye Kabali-Kabwe (Dankie); Gauteng, Thembile Tshuma (Ndza nkhensa); and KZN, Pauline Hansen (Siyabonga). Thank you to those who volunteer in the Eastern Cape, Luvuyo Yanta (Enkosi); Northern Cape, Letlogonolo Nche (Siyabonga); Mpumalanga, Nkosiyami Ngubane (Thank you), Free State, Styx Mokejane (Re ya lehoha); Limpopo, Keitumetse Tlokana (Rea leboga) and North West, Tiego Shametja (Siyayathokoza). Also thank you to the many persons who have worked in short term contracts with ASSITEJ SA this year.
To Themba Maseko, who was our Logistics manager and has now left for other adventures, we say Thank you for your many years of dedicated service.
I contend that behind every successful secretariat is a formidable board. Unlike other environments where board members are paid for developing the vision of the organisation, ASSITEJ SA board members do not get paid for sittings, or for any efforts they undertake to ensure that the organisation thrives.
I would like to pay gratitude to Ismail Mahomed, whose knowledge of the South African creative industry is invaluable;
To Janet Watts, whose institutional memory to the organisation is unparalleled;
To Anastasia Machobane, whose legislative framework prowess is instrumental;
To Lindiwe Msiza, whose passion for transformation leads the organisation to make bold choices regarding its people and programmes;
To Omphile Molusi, whose knack for telling stories is both inspiring, generative and visionary; and
To Zanele Ngwenya, whose experience of the financial systems ensures that we can account for money being spent and/or received.
To you dear members (individuals or organisations)… Your creative programmes and projects demonstrate that the 2021 African Union year of Arts, Culture & Heritage: Levers For Building The Africa we want, will yield good results to realise the ideas for Agenda 2063.
Individually and collectively, you constantly remind me that ngwana kgotsong ha a lebale tsa kgotsong. To all the family members of ASSITEJ worldwide, let us continue to take one child to the theatre, today. Families, Guardians, Friends and peers are behind us. Partnerships with corporates, philanthropists and governments, the AU, and the EU can only grow stronger. Good deeds of peace are an invaluable gift.
– Lalu Mokuku is the chairperson of ASSITEJ SA and serves in the Executive Committee of ASSITEJ International