Kids in gumboots mine South Africa’s future

 

Gumboot dancing is a uniquely South African expression. Percussive stamps and claps creating music through movement create a sense of belonging that transcends spoken words and familial bonds. The community of dance is the key principle driving an organisation changing lives in South Africa’s townships.

This spirit of togetherness and cultural pride has risen through Happy Feet, an afterschool dance and music programme that exposes children and young adults to educational opportunities. Founded by Siviwe Mbinda, Chippa Mbuyiseli Mngwangwa and Nathi Buzwe, the organisation brings together children who perform in and around Cape Town. Proceeds from the events are used to fund uniforms, materials, school fees and feeding schemes for the disadvantaged youth. It's giving back without stripping the kids of their agency.

Once they’re on stage it's hard to look away. An a cappella intro leads into a high-energy and up-tempo gumboot number. What they are doing is more than song and dance. It's an expression of freedom, and a way to a brighter future.