Inspired by Picasso to teach kids how to hope

 

Acornhoek. It’s a pretty name. But the small town is marred by the scars of inequality. Unemployment, crime and substance abuse threaten to ensnare its youth, putting paid to thoughts of a better future – a malaise summed up by the municipality’s staggering unemployment rate of 75%. But from this murky hopelessness appears a fleck of colour, a splash of hope on the paintbrush of Walter Sibuyi, who believes that art can save the children of his community.

“Each and every child is an artist,” he says, quoting Picasso. Sibuyi is the art teacher at Shobiyana High School, where his classes are fuelled by the attitude that all students possess potential. The guidance and care offered in his classroom have gone a long way to curbing the dropout rate at his school, inspiring learners to return week after week to hone their skill. Realising the promise of art as a powerful vehicle for change, Sibuyi helped to start the Wind of Change Community Project, which blends creative time with homework assistance.

“The youth need something that will inspire them and give them hope,” says Sibuyi. The latter is something that is certainly beginning to shine through his community. Some of the children he teaches have even been able to sell their artwork to raise support for their families. As we continue to uplift one another and build towards the future, addressing basic physical needs is of vital importance. It’s not all about extravagant gestures, but simple acts of generosity. Like Sibuyi, we all have something to give, no matter how small. Combined, our contributions have the capacity to effect the grand changes our country needs.