Sept 2021 1st edition

Golden Youth Club uses the arts to teach

Written by Sphelele Ngubane

The Golden Youth Club is using the performing arts to teach children about various issues, including the Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to bring peace and prosperity to all people by 2030.

Nomatlou Mahlangu and some of the Golden Youth Club members. Image: Nomatlou MahlanguClub founder Nomatlou Mahlangu explains that the club focuses on issues that affect learners in their daily lives.

“We reflect on them and turn thoughts into an artistic performance – whether it’s a song, dance or a play. Our aim is to convey that, regardless of where you come from, there is one language we can all understand,” says Mahlangu.

“For us to understand who we are and where we are going, we need to first understand our history. As African people, our education is presented through the arts, hence our club even teaches the Sustainable Development Goals through the performing arts,” she adds.

In another education drive, the club took learners on a 10-day tour of Tshwane to teach them about climate change. “During the tour, we visited seven regions to emphasise the message of keeping our environment toxin free,” says Mahlangu.

With a vision of making performing arts more accessible to audiences in South Africa and across the world, Mahlangu says the club offers a variety of programmes including dance, music, poetry, theatre, visual arts, fashion design and peer education.

It partners with organisations in Germany, Ukraine, Malawi, Brazil, Uganda, Egypt, Israel and Tunisia, and has travelled to some of these countries to learn about them and engage with their citizens on social issues.

Mahlangu says the arts has an important role to play in changing society, and encourages parents and communities to expose children to the arts from a young age.

Her interest in young people was inspired by the African phrase ligotshwa lisemanzi, which roughly translated means to train a child from a young age. “We must encourage our children to utilise their talents, as they can be successful when they do so,” she says.

The club also promotes indigenous languages when members travel to other countries. “In arts, difference is celebrated. We need to showcase what is ours, so others can learn from us,” says Mahlangu.

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