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Dear Friends,

In November 2016 Imbali Western Cape were overjoyed to receive a Grant of R450 000 from the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) - a portion of which was dedicated to the further education of a group of nine artistically talented learners from the primary and high schools in Kylemore who were chosen to participate in a General Art Programme held at the famous PJ Oliver Art Centre in Stellenbosch. They registered into this historical school which is fully equipped with the specialized facilities required for art education in 2017.

We have pleasure and pride to take you into the hallowed halls of the PJ Olivier Art Centre where Nadine Williams, Journalist, Eikestadnuus, visited and interviewed the staff and learners.
Nelis Koegelenberg (Principal, PJ Oliver Art Centre)
Claudette James receiving a prize from Nelis Koegelenberg for her artwork
At PJ Oliver we realise that you can’t live in isolation and therefore it has always been important for us to give back to the community. With the Imbali Art project we could not only give back but also show our Ubuntu by helping and caring for a group of talented children from this disadvantaged community. It has been such a joy and an absolute pleasure to work with these nine children – we learned about various art techniques, texture, colours and how to create beautiful artwork. I believe giving recognition through art goes beyond all boundaries and this group has proven that. These children, raised in a different environment walked in here shy and scared, but trust me, they’ve grown so much since we started. It feels great to know that we’re not only teaching them art but that we’re part of educating them.”
 
Johan Kellerman (Art Teacher)
Group with teacher, Johan Kellerman
Seeing the students weekly was definitely a humbling and fun experience – not only do we get to share our passion in art with them but we bring hope and help to develop these young people. I’ve seen them move away from schematic to more formal type of art drawings and I’m extremely proud of them. Our classes were fun and everyone knew this was a safe place where you get to learn, ask questions and just enjoy art. I love how art has a way of increasing your self-worth, and it really touched me to see how proud they were of their finished products. In a community where the arts aren’t always the obvious choice, these nine children showed that if you work hard it is possible to have a career in this field. I’m so proud of them and although they walked in here with a very basic knowledge of art, I know they’ll one day be able to choose from the variety of art classes we offer here to continue to learn and to grow.”
Nadine also interviewed some of the learners who not only consider themselves privileged to be part of this group who get to go to the PJ Olivier Centre on a weekly basis, but who can’t wait to continue their artistic journey in 2018. Here’s what these students had to say:
Pierre-Luke Isaacs (grade 8, 14 years old)

I’ve been part of the Imbali Visual Literacy programme in Kylemore since grade 3 but I never imagined that, five years later, I would be attending art classes at the prestigious PJ Oliver Art centre. I was really excited about learning new things – we focused on tinting, shading, different colours and how to mix them all together. I won’t lie, the first day was intimidating and I was definitely nervous as I didn’t know what to expect. However I’ve gotten used to going to art every Friday, an experience I will forever cherish.”
 
Jade-Will Malan (grade 10, 16 years old)

I have to admit that I was really shocked when I was chosen to be part of the programme. I am truly grateful for the opportunity and I’ve really learned a lot about art. Classes were taught in a fun and interesting way and although I was in such a historic and huge building, I never felt like I didn’t belong. Being able to draw in such a peaceful environment and being taught by experts, are a few of the things I value the most.”
 
Nazley Cupido (grade 7, 13 years old)
Nazley Cupido
“Although I was really excited to start this new journey, I felt nervous as I’ve never been in such a big building and obviously never experienced something like this before. But I am so happy that I could be part of this programme – here I learned everything about art. The best thing about the whole experience was seeing the finished project and I was always shocked to see how good it looked. I wouldn’t change this experience for anything and would love to continue with the programme through high school.”
 
Claudette James (grade 8, 14 years old)
 
“This experience truly changed my life! Art was always seen as a hobby, but I never took it seriously until I started this programme. Here I was taught with love, criticized with love and always encouraged to do my best. I still can’t believe that I received an award for my work during our award ceremony on the last day of term! It felt good to know that I am good at something.”
 
Frangeline Farao (grade 7, 13 years old)
Frangeline Farao
“I learned a lot about art and I am grateful for this opportunity. Kids around here don’t get to experience art like we do, so I definitely don’t take it for granted. To draw is the best thing that ever happened to me – it calms me and I get to express who I am. This is definitely a career I would love to pursue.”
 
Moneefa and Moneesha Conradie (grade 9 and 10, 16 years old)
Moneefa and Moneesha Conradie
“It was definitely very exciting to go to town every single week. We’ve been part of the Imbali Visual Literacy Art programme for a couple of years but since attending classes at PJ Oliver, we’ve definitely improved.” Moneefa says her friends were adamant that she won’t be chosen to be part of the programme. “Now it feels awesome to prove them wrong, not only was I chosen but I’m proud of what I learned and can definitely see how much I’ve improved.” Her twin sister Moneesha says one of her best experiences was realising that she could take her passion for art further. “This is really something I would consider taking further. Sometimes kids would not listen in class and that would upset the teacher, but we always felt cared for and were encouraged that anything is possible if we just work hard at it.”
Thank you NLC for the Grant and the opportunity to invest in the future of these artistically talented learners! Thank you Nelis Koegelenberg and Johann Kellerman for opening the doors of the PJ Olivier Centre to these enthusiastic youngsters. And thank you to our dedicated art teachers: Alexis Hanslo, Leonie Twine, Jeanette Fritz, Theo van der Merwe, Ursula Windsor, as well as an Outreach project gratefully appreciated from the Children’s Art Centre in Zonnebloem. Without your perseverance and continued support none of this would have been possible.

Bless you Nadine Williams for your relentless pursuit of “GOOD NEWS” stories in our community, your great photography, and for putting the Imbali December Newsletter together for us! A job truly well done!

Bless you for caring
Jeanne and all at Imbali

Jeanne Bestbier-Bloch, Imbali Coordinator
Mobile: +27 83 601 2376
Website: https://www.imbaliwc.co.za
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