New hope for young artists

When Nkululeko Innocent Dube quit his teaching job in Mpopoma in 2000 to start an arts group he had no idea he would turn around the lives of so many youths from his community.

Nkululeko Dube - Brains behind IYASA.
Nkululeko Dube – Brains behind IYASA.

Dube said the desire to nurture thetalent of young people drove him to start InkululekoYabatsha School of Arts,now an international brand with 10 awards to its name. Dube himself, the director of the group, has won three awards. While still a student at Mzingwane High School, he helped to set up a drama club which included popular artists Babongile Skhonjwa, Nhlanhla Mpofu and renowned film writer, Kissinger Sibanda, now based in the US.

He also founded the Mpopoma High School Drama club, which was transformed into IYASA.

The group’s first production was a musical show about the late Vice-President Joshua MqabukoNkomo and the prominent video Woza My Fohloza, originally by Mbongeni Ngema.

Dube had been touched by the fact that most talent went to waste after children left school. He also wanted to change perceptions that, unlike sports, the arts industry had no capacity to create jobs for the youths.

His challenge was to convince the community that he had good intentions of working with children.

IYASA, with 50 members aged between 12 and 35, is now a household name not only in Zimbabwe but internationally. It is viewed as the country’s cultural ambassador.

The group shows its gratitude by giving back to the community. It links local schools with others regionally and internationally, collects toys and other items during its tours and gives them away, runs a talent search programme and performs charity shows.

“I believe when a tree forgets its rootsit is bound to fall. It’s the same community that we meet on ourway up that we will meet on our way down – so it’s important to keep that inperspective,” he said.

The group has been to Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, Malawi, Swaziland, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Lichtenstein, Slovakia, Serbia, Montenegro, Japan, Croatia and the US. It has been involved inprojects in Russia, New Zealand, Singapore and Italy.

Dube believes learning from past lessons, passion for what they do, discipline and support from the community has managed to hold the group together.

Post published in: Arts
  1. Sinibaldi

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