Harlequin Foundation - creating a common culture through carnival


By sylviahammond, 23 March, 2012

Harlequin Foundation in Cape Town

The Harlequin Foundation is proud to announce that UNESCO’s International Fund for Cultural Diversity has approved a grant of US$81000 to the eMzantsi   mapiko training project for “Encouraging creative entrepreneurship in South   Africa through recycled arts”.
The funding, stemming from the UNESCO 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, will allow the Harlequin   Foundation to expand the project, focusing on building skills of adults with   learning disabilities and single mothers. Over the last 3 years, thanks   to funding from the National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund, the project   has trained over 30 local people in recycled art skills, creating colourful   costumes, floats and giant puppets for the eMzantsi Carnival.
The eMzantsi recycled artists are referred to as the mapiko crew. “For a long   time, we were seeking an African equivalent for the Trinidadian term   ‘Mas-making’. ‘Mas’ refers to ‘Masquerade’, but we wanted a word that would   resonate in the South African context” said chief trainer Justin Stuart.   “Following a visit to the Iziko exhibition ‘Ghoema and Glitter’ we discovered   the Makonde word ‘mapiko’ (from Mozambique) which simultaneously means   ‘mask-making’, ‘shape-shifting’ and ‘wonder’. This sums up the wide range of   skills our crew embody and the magic they create much better than the word   ‘costume-makers’!”. Mapiko coordinator Yandiswa Mazwana added “We love the   word because aMapiko also means ‘wings’ in isiXhosa – and eMzantsi gives you   wings!”
eMzantsi has recruited participants from the Western Cape Association for Persons with Disabilities in Ocean View, and Young Mothers groups from Catholic Welfare and Development and the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation Youth   Centre in Masiphumelele. They will embark on a 10 month training course from   April which will teach them the skills they need to create recycled art   work, from small scale craft for retail to large scale pieces for festivals   and carnivals. eMzantsi project MD Sam Pearce said “We are incredibly proud of   the achievements of our mapiko crew, who have gone on to work at the Gauteng Carnival and the Cape Town Carnival. eMzantsi leads the country in creating   recycled carnival art, and creating jobs through it, and is blazing a trail   for more to follow.”
For more information see the website www.emzantsi.org.za, call   the eMzantsi office 021 785 1515 or find eMzantsi Carnival on   Facebook.