In a community with no room for leotards and tights, this boy breaks the mould


A piano interlude plays in a bright ballet studio. A little boy, dressed in black, sways back and forth to the rhythm of the composition. Shy and quiet, inconspicuous when not on stage, he is one of South Africa’s most exciting young dance prospects.

Faakhir Bestman is a gifted boy on his way to ballet stardom. He lives in Hanover Park, located in the Cape Flats. Where he is from, masculinity and gun culture are inextricably linked. There is no room for dancing in tights. Bestman has gone against the grain. He has pursued his dream to become a world-renowned ballet dancer. His talent has seen him dance in London and New York, where Bestman recently completed a summer intensive at the American Academy of Ballet as the first recipient of the inaugural Christopher Kindo Dance Scholarship. All this at the age of 12.

For Bestman, ballet is not just a form of dance. It’s a means of escape. He says that ballet allows him to feel free. It is a source of happiness, an expression of love to his wheelchair-bound sister. She fills his thoughts as he floats through the air. His love for her, coupled with his passion for dance, is set to carry him to unmatched heights.