Girl power will change the world. These drummies are leading the way


Hope Abrahams forgot about ballroom dancing before she even signed up for it. When the Grade 1 learner arrived for classes, something else caught her eye. Light sparkled off sequined dresses. White boots marched perfectly in sync. Drum majorettes deftly threw their maizes in the air, catching them with ease as they hurtled back to the ground. One girl in particular stood out. She displayed exceptional skill and courage as she led the team, a smile on her face. Abrahams was captivated, and joined drummies instead.

With discipline and commitment, Abrahams worked her way up. As her skills improved, her confidence flourished. “It helped me grow my self-esteem,” Abrahams says. “I saw in me there was something else.” After seven years and countless hours of practice, Abrahams now has the honour of calling herself the Large Drill Leader. She is responsible for girls as young as seven, having to show them respect and patience to move them forward. It seems like a big ask for a 13-year-old. But Abrahams knows her capabilities, and is willing to take on the challenge. “To be a leader, you have to be brave,” she says. In Belhar, where gangsterism is rife and young role models are few, the drummies are guiding their own way.

Abrahams and her team take pride in what they do. This year, they proved their mettle at the South African Majorette and Cheerleading Association’s National Championship. They placed second in Large Drill, and Abrahams won gold for her leadership. “I felt like I conquered something,” Abrahams says. She has no doubts of her strength, or the tenacity of her team. “It’s about believing in yourself,” Abrahams says. “We have learnt self-love.” To empower women in our society, we need to start by instilling confidence in young girls. Abrahams is already five steps ahead. “Girls are powerful,” she says. “We are the future.”