Cape of hope

10th January 2003 at 00:00
Having the courage to follow your dreams is the inspiring theme of the Global Education Challenge roadshows in Cape Town. One student from the township of Nyanga decides not only to share her dream with 700 other students, but to do something about it. Eleven-year-old Mphokazi (pictured) confidently takes the microphone from Graham Dalton and proclaims: "I want to sing freestyle" (rap). MC Sky 189 invites her on stage, DJ Hammer sets up a backbeat and Mphokazi launches into song. "My name is Mphokazi If you want to see me Come to my Year 7 class I am Mphokazi I love my teachers I love my sisters I love my family I love ev'ry one."

If the roadshow had been in a house, Mphokazi would have brought it down. Children scream and clap, and teachers' eyes well up. Emma Richards afterwards seeks her out to congratulate her. Sky 189 says that when Mphokazi is older she will be "30 times better than me. She's been noticed. People who can make a difference are aware of her."

And what about Mphokazi herself? Is she excited? "I just want to sing. I am going to sing. I want to sing to everybody," she says. Yes, but how will she achieve her goal? The details don't concern her. She shrugs and says, "I will just sing."

Sky 189, 28, who grew up as a graffiti artist in Cape Town and has immersed his life in hip-hop culture, says the roadshows "broaden children's outlook and say you don't have to grow up in a little box".

He adds: "The seeds are planted. We don't know what they will grow into. For some, today will mean absolutely nothing, but to the next person it may make the world of difference."

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