Help Project Zulu to wow UK audiences in 2015

Issue date: 13 November 2014

Project Zulu, a charity started by students and staff at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), has another campaign to bring a group of talented young performers from Sithobelumthetho Primary School South Africa to the UK for three weeks during the autumn in 2015.

UWE Bristol Senior Lecturer Ben Knight has a passion for Zulu song and dance and has been visiting schools in the KwaZulu Natal area of South Africa for many years. His relationship with the schools has enabled several life changing placement opportunities for UWE teaching students to experience teaching in South Africa.

In 2013 he set up Project Zulu with students from UWE who had taught in the Madedeni township and raised funds so that a group of children from South Africa could visit the UK. They wowed audiences by performing traditional songs and dance in schools and venues culminating in a huge gala performance at Bristol's Colston Hall.

During the tour the children raised money to install solar panels on their school roof. Ben explained, “We have decided to organise a repeat performance as the first tour was so successful. Project Zulu supports the transport for 26 children to come to the UK and when they are here they earn money to improve their school by putting on astounding performances.

“This year we are hoping to encourage the children to raise funds so that they can build new classrooms to relieve the pressure on the severely over crowded classrooms.

“At the moment the classes in the school have a ratio of at least 50:1 children to teachers which is far from ideal. We also want to make improvements to the sports facilities. My many many years as a school teacher and now several as a university lecturer have taught me that lower pupil-teacher ratios are a fundamental advantage in successfully education young people.

“We have an ambition to involve the children at the opening of at least one Springbok match during the Rugby World cup in September 2015.

“Already we have the support of Francois Louw, Springbok and Bath Rugby player, who has embraced the ethos of what we are trying to achieve for the children and for the Project. As well as Thius Delport, ex-Springbok and Worcester Warriors player and Nick Koster, a South African playing for Bristol Rugby.”

Naomi Steeds, Project Zulu Coordinator, said, “We have just launched our new website telling people about the project and providing an opportunity to help support the work; there are options that suit all budgets and we welcome contributions however small.

“We have named the donating options after Zulu warriors so you can donate small amounts on the Zulu Ancestor package or more than £250 on the Zulu King option with donation packages in between for differing amounts.

“The web pages also invite people to take part in activities leading up to and during the tour from fundraising through to hosting the children in their family homes and inviting schools to get involved.

“The project benefits so many people as we have now established great partnerships with schools and families all over the region providing a rare chance for the children to take part and learn about traditional South African music and dance.”

To find out more go to Project Zulu. See here for video.

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