Empower Education

To stimulate creativity, one must develop the childlike inclination for play.” – Albert Einstein

Kickstarter Educational Empowerment

Kickstarter is our highly acclaimed and awarded arts-education programme supporting teachers to be able to deliver quality Creative Arts in schools. It targets teachers and community-based artist facilitators to build capacity in delivering the formal Creative Arts curriculum at Intermediate Phase. It uses an experiential, easily accessible, step-by-step methodology, which has been tried and tested with teachers as the Creative Voices methodology since 2000. The programme is generously funded by Rand Merchant Bank.

The pilot ran in 2015-2016, where we worked with 57 teachers of Creative Arts in 20 schools in Free-State and Kwazulu Natal, to assist them to deliver on the compulsory Creative arts curriculum, benefitting thousands of children. We also measured the impact of Creative Arts (drama, dance, music and visual arts) on all aspects of learning and teaching. 

Kickstarter is now working in Free State, KwaZulu Natal and Northern Cape, with some workshops taking place in Gauteng. The programme is being upscaled for further roll-outs across the country.

See our report on the pilot project in 2015-2016 here.
After School Game Changer: Artist facilitator training

Surviving as an artist can be difficult, so being able to facilitate within the in-school or after-school environment is a great plus. We run forums, workshops, training and development opportunities for artists and educators who want to work in this space.

Since 2014, we have trained intensively around 250 artist-facilitators from 6 provinces to work in schools.

Currently, our After-School Game Changer training programme in association with the Department of Cultural Affairs & Sports, Western Cape, is assisting over 60 Creative Arts coaches a year to provide excellent afterschool programmes for children and young people across the province. We have been running the programme since 2017, and have created community-based and provincial Showcases for the coaches to demonstrate talent and skills of their learners. 

Theatre Mediation

Theatre can be made even more powerfully transformative if the experience is extended in some way through pre- or post-show workshops. Theatre mediation helps children and young people to fully engage with the material of the play, and to experiment with the theatre languages they have been exposed to.

In 2014 we reached 5000 school children through the innovative, award-winning War Horse Education project, sponsored by RMB, in partnership with Handspring Puppet Company, ensuring in-depth arts workshops in schools, development of educational materials and free attendance of the War Horse production.

Other theatre mediation projects designed especially for theatre companies, the Baxter theatre, the Market theatre and others, include: The Ogreling, Lion Boy, Woza Albert, Mies Julie, Karoo Moose, Mother to Mother, and The Crossing.

Sharing Arts Education Methodologies

ASSITEJ SA is the official partner of the Department of Basic Education in the development of the Life Skills textbooks which include the Creative Arts Intermediate Phase, as well as Creative Arts as method, and will be involved with the teacher training linked to the use of the textbook.

We have taught locally-developed and tested arts education methodologies to artists and educators in South Africa, Swaziland, Rwanda and Zimbabwe, and there is a demand for more. We have also developed handbooks and texts for use in the classroom. 

For more information, contact

Go here for our English and isiXhosa version of Suzanne Lebeau's The Ogreling.


From teachers, artist-facilitators and learners

Kickstarter Educational Empowerment

‘Ms Pina’, teacher at Thusanong Primary School in Odendaalsrus:

‘My knowledge (in Creative Arts) it improved a lot, because before the Kickstarter project, it was difficult for me to plan or create lessons for Creative Arts. Now I know how to start, where to start with Creative Arts. Kickstarter project is an eye opener for our teachers and learners-now we are aware that art is also a good profession for our learners.’

Kickstarter Educational Empowerment

Kristy Stone, Core Team Visual Arts:

“Through working with ASSITEJ, I now see the value of all art disciplines and how they contribute to Life Skills. The workshops were exceptionally well run and organized. The workshops offered participants a valuable educational opportunity. ASSITEJ teaches supportive, disciplined and respectful learning.”

Kickstarter Educational Empowerment

Mpumy Ndlovu, ASSITEJ Artist-facilitator: 

“In my school, Isiphingo Primary, Life Skills (Creative Arts) has been looked down upon and not understood by many teachers. The arrival of the Kickstarter project has made things clear and easy in ways that some times other Life Skills teachers from other Grades join us for observation of how we conduct a lesson. When I arrived in the school there were learners who were looked down upon by teachers due to their lacking academically. These learners have shown much talent and growth through our lessons and warm-ups. They have grown confidence in themselves and so have the teachers.” 

Kickstarter Educational Empowerment

Syabonga Mthembu, Artist facilitator in Kwa-Zulu Natal:

“I must say I’m very impressed by the way ASSITEJ has impacted the schools in terms of Creative Arts. The principal, educators, surprisingly even the community, parents are looking forward to the great results in their children. They are all supportive and attracted to the program. I was also impressed by the CA Teachers that were in Jo’burg, when they came back they implemented all the skills they learnt from Joburg, especially in Visual Arts. And the kids responded positively as I saw their work. The similar pictures and paints we did in Jo’burg are all over the walls in classrooms. ASSITEJ is indeed changing the lives of the kids positively.”

Kickstarter Educational Empowerment

L. M Sefako, HOD English and Lifeskills, Adeline Meje Primary in Viljoenskroon: 

‘Since the training learners love Arts and Culture-they are acting, performing and creating. They use the knowledge from class to perform in some school activities eg Heritage day, awards ceremonies. Yes, Creative Arts at my school has improved a lot! It (Kickstarter Creative Arts project) has bought a change and it also interacts with other subjects, eg English (dialogue and writing) and Maths (music)’

Kickstarter Educational Empowerment

Khuthala Primary, Ms. Ntombela: 

This programme has revealed my love for the arts, I even use the arts, especially dramatic arts in my isiZulu lessons when we are doing text analysis. Learning and teaching of Life Skills has become so fun and for me and my learners.  I used to be so confused when it came to teaching the arts, and Life Skills in general. I never really understood what was required let alone how to get it done. Now, it’s a different story all together. It has become so easy and pleasurable since we started with you guys (Kickstarter).  

Kickstarter Educational Empowerment

Schoeme Grobler, Artist-facilitator – Marobe Primary School:  

Although only one grade 4 teacher of this school attended the trainings, the Kickstarter work did not stop in her classroom. I would walk past classes, which I never visited before, and see Kickstarter visual art lessons against the classroom walls. Out of their own accord, the teachers who did not get to attend the trainings visited classes my teacher and I would have, eagerly making sure they understood the lessons to take into their classrooms. Where I started off with one teacher in one grade 4 class, our year ended with the work evident in all four of the grade 4 classes and all the grade 4 teachers appreciating the Kickstarter project.  It is as if, with each visit, I saw a small training of the project happening between the teachers! The Kickstarter project truly branched out beautifully at Marobe Primary school. Thank you ASSITEJ SA! 

Kickstarter Educational Empowerment

Mpume Mthombeni (“Ancestor” Artist-Facilitator):

“Firstly I would like to share about my own growth since joining this project… I knew nothing about facilitation… but through the process of learning and training during the project, I have to say I have grown a lot… I am now able to facilitate with ease. I can now use what I have learnt from the Kickstarter project for my own personal work… I have now added another approach or method of creating work. My confidence has been boosted … I can also mention about report writing… Firstly I thought it was going to be a challenge and very tedious, but through Kickstarter having to report back now seems easy… I have a better understanding when I am faced with a project where I would need to report back on. Thank you to Assitej SA for giving me this opportunity to grow and for grooming me to be where I am now… I look back and think to myself…  Wow…who would have thought ….especially as I was a person who had come from a poor educational background. One thing I have also noticed working with the school teachers is the appreciation and the relief they get being part of this project…  I’m still in contact with my Putello’s teacher… I am now her go-to person when she needs to take learners to shows… and she has grown a lot in being able to teach the lessons in class, compared to when she first started with Assitej. The teacher I am working with at present Mr Hlela… He is always happy about what he has learnt and he is able to share it with his fellow Creative Arts teachers at school… he went on to open a whatsapp group for the Creative Educators in Umlazi district so they can share teaching ideas!”

Kickstarter Educational Empowerment

“I’m Lehlohonolo Mokejane, popularly know as Styx Mokejane. I hail from near the river bank of Vaal in a dusty township called Zamdela, where two primary schools are directly involved in the Kickstarter project. I trained with Assitej SA for an intensive workshop on how Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement can be made easier to our teachers and learners at school. Since the start of Kickstarter with the pilot in 2015, it has brought much growth in arts education. Kickstarter doesn’t require only ability to facilitate, but it also requires sound administration to measure the impact the project has in schools, as well as to me as a facilitator. I started with Kickstarter as just a drama professional; but now I can declare my performing arts to visual arts cross-over participation, due to the training by Assitej SA. Kickstarter is a nation needed project since its nature is to restore the African principle of a child is raised by a child. The quarterly set of trainings unleashed my potential to be a responsible father, a man who can listen to children.”

Kickstarter Educational Empowerment

Schoeme Grobler, Artist-facilitator at Marobe Primary School:  

“Although only one grade 4 teacher of this school attended the trainings, the Kickstarter work did not stop in her classroom. I would walk past classes, which I never visited before, and see Kickstarter visual art lessons against the classroom walls. Out of their own accord, the teachers who did not get to attend the trainings visited classes my teacher and I would have, eagerly making sure they understood the lessons to take into their classrooms. Where I started off with one teacher in one grade 4 class, our year ended with the work evident in all four of the grade 4 classes and all the grade 4 teachers appreciating the Kickstarter project.  It is as if, with each visit, I saw a small training of the project happening between the teachers! The Kickstarter project truly branched out beautifully at Marobe Primary school. Thank you ASSITEJ SA!”

Kickstarter Educational Empowerment

Sanzwili Primary School: Mrs Ndlela said that before Kickstarter she had removed herself from being a LS teacher. It was too stressful. But after the first training she ‘fell in love’ with subject. Together with Mam Mbonambi, she went to school and cleared and cleaned a classroom that was used as a storage for broken furniture and they created their own art room. She informed the principal that she taking on LS again. 

“Even the learners are happy, you can clearly see the glow on their faces since we started doing the arts. We never had arts lessons before so this has been absolutely amazing. No more extra Maths and PE lessons. Now we do arts. Personally, I am grateful to Assitej. In their art room, there are displays of all the learners’ artworks.”

War Horse Workshops

Nieke Lombard (Independent, Cape Town):

“It was an extremely insightful week. I am grateful to be a small part in changing a teenager’s perception, on an educationally creative level through the arts. I am confident this will happen as that is how I felt afterwards: that I was touched on an emotional and physical level, while learning and it made the experience intellectual as well as visceral. I had read the WAR HORSE book before, which left me quite ‘cold’, but the understanding of the gravity of war and loss came through only through the participation and reflection that took place in the ASSITEJ workshop week. I felt so inspired that I wanted to place everything I learnt in my proposed workshop (which is impossible) however I fully realize the significance to present a new way of learning to students, even if it is through just one artistic medium that links with their subjects. Thank you ASSITEJ”

War Horse Workshops

Mtho Zulu (Edu-Fun, Durban):

“Colour brings life to the shades of life. The WAR HORSE Facilitator Workshop left me having finally found the treasure at the beginning of a rainbow. The experience was that which did not only teach me a lot about the industry I am in and how I can add fun to young people’s education, but it also made me grow as a human being. Not just as an artist, but as Mtho. I will never forget this beautiful experience.”

War Horse Workshops

Toni Morkel (Independent artist, Jo’burg):

Thank you All for the incredible experience of the WAR HORSE workshops last week. Each day being led by another brilliant facilitator, and being so held throughout the process. And then the really challenging part in the last 2 days creating our own workshops and the terror of presenting to the whole group after such high standards being set! Absolutely terrifying! And learning about myself working in tandem with a new partner under pressure – thank you Lebogang Inno! And learning so much again from watching the other participants delivering their workshops – a wonderful and enriching experience in every way!”

War Horse Workshops

Basil Jones: “Yesterday’s audience completely overwhelmed us. It was surely the most memorable of all War Horse performances we have watched and we’ll ever remember it. The learners were so intensely concentrated in their attention, living every moment, hungrily interpreting and making meaning for themselves. It felt like they were the raison d’être for our whole career. The British cast were in tears and the woman who played Rose said it was the finest moment of her 25-years on stage. Tim Lewis, who plays Captain Nicolls has a South African parent, and says when he was holding a fence pole in the stable scene, he had tears coursing down his cheeks.

What a wonderful introduction to our country for the actors and puppeteers!

I want to thank you all for the vision, the planning, the training, and the follow-through that went into pulling off the attendance of such a huge, well-prepared audience. We feel fortunate that RMB is determined to take their corporate responsibility so seriously and that we have in this country a branch of ASSITEJ that is so muscular, having significant affect in the lives and imaginations of thousands of children. We are proud of our association with ASSITEJ SA.”

African Youth Theatre and Dance Festival 2015

“I loved the fact that there were people from different countries and therefore we exchanged our cultures. The organisers did a really good job and I hope for them to continue with the organisation. Not only for Muizenberg, but other schools too.” – Muizenberg High learner

“Seeing the four plays done by theatre professionals. That gave me the opportunity to learn more and do more when I go back to Zambia tomorrow. The Brouhaha groups performance I just watched has greatly inspired me because five of them were Zambian.” – Zambian Youth

“The fact that we got to engage with professionals in the industry as well as people (Human Beings) from other countries and even other (un) familiar societies to me. What I most enjoyed was understanding who & what a playwright is & what is needed (perhaps) expected from us, from both directors & audiences.” – Playwright

Fair Play Site -specific theatre making workshops

“Group work/team work is very important. Our learners lack self-confidence and this way of working, which includes learners is very powerful.” 

“I learned new ideas methods which I am going to put in practices”

“I loved the site-specific activity, cause now it would be easier for learners to create their own plays  (both Afrikaans and Arts & Culture)”

After School Game Changer

 “The community showcases for me was very educational. To arrange your own showcases with the surrounding schools was very challenging and hard work, but very educational. It had forced us into working as a team and also understanding where the other struggle and being able to help where you can. It was hard work but also fun. The graduation showcases where the cherries on the cake. All that hard work paying off when you see your learners perform on stage being confident and loving every moment of it…. I have learned a lot from this programme. And also met a lot of people that I have created new friendships with. I hope that ASSITEJ will keep me on their database for their future programs. I would really love to attend the next international Cradle of creativity festival.” – Mandisa Litoyi (Knysna Secondary School, Eden)

After School Game Changer

“It was a development program to equip ourselves with knowledge and skills, it gave great opportunity for kids to enter the arts industry.” – Sinethemba Madikazi (Isikhokelo Primary School, Khayelitsha, Cape Metro)

After School Game Changer

“Congratulations on a very professional educated programme that has taught me a lot, especially when it comes to the kids and how to deal with certain issues and problem-solving. I understand my kids better and know now how to approach certain stuff. I am so grateful for being part of such an amazing programme that is not only benefitting me but the child at the end of the day, cause everything is about the children. IF ANY OPPORTUNITY WOULD COME UP AGAIN I SURELY WILL APPLY CAUSE IT’S ABOUT LEARNING AND EDUCATING. THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS” – Willem Payler (Hibernia Primary School, George, Eden)