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Newer Heights for Rhodes student

Date Released: Mon, 17 September 2012 10:59 +0200

It’s been a joyful, dance filled journey for Joza born and bred Noluvuyo Shwempe from classes in a community hall, to a prestigious national award.

Noluvuyo was behind the Platinum Award-winning presentation for the Impumelelo Social Innovations Awards 2012 - a project that recognises and encourages innovative projects to help uplift disadvantaged communities.

Her presentation outlined the evolution of the Amaphiko Township Dance Project and its mission to build self-esteem and a sense of empowerment among township children. Noluvuyo - now a second year Science student at Rhodes University - studied at Ntaba Maria Primary, in Fingo Village.

She was 8 when Janet Buckland came to her school and introduced what was to become the Amaphiko Township Dance Project. The project's aim is to develop the whole child through dance. Noluvuyo began dance classes at BB Zondani Hall, in Fingo Village, and over the years was introduced to a wide range of dance styles. The more time she spent dancing and realising the diversity in dance, the more her passion grew.

She was soon attending classes regularly and entering exams. "It just happened," she said, smiling, explaining that Amaphiko had given her and other children 'wings'. The programme gave Noluvuyo and others the opportunity to study dance as an extra subject at school, as well as get assistance in other subjects they might struggle with at school. Noluvuyo studied hard and a 90% in Physical Science, 86% in Mathematics, and 85% in Dance Studies were among the excellent matric marks that earned her entry to Rhodes University at the beginning of last year.

There she has had the chance to explore her talents further, studying dance at the Drama Department under the guidance of Buckland, as well as studying towards a BSc degree. Last month Noluvuyo gave her presentation for the Impumelelo Social Innovations Awards Ceremony of 2012. She explained how the programme aimed to narrow the divide between local youth and others around the country.

Apart from finishing her degree in Chemistry and Computer Science, Noluvuyo's aim is to never stop dancing. "I could never stay away," she says. As Amaphiko - now run by Sarah Roberson - continues to grow and inspire others, Noluvuyo aspires to share and "show what we can do". Her passion, drive and outgoing personality have already helped put the Amaphiko project, and Joza, in the national spotlight.

Source: Grocotts Mail

Story and Picture by Ameera Mills