Edition: English | 中文简体 | 中文繁体 Монгол
Homepage > Culture Video

S. Africa: Introducing Gumboot dancing to keep children off the streets

CCTV.com

11-22-2016 00:59 BJT

Cape Town has the highest murder rate in Africa, and one of its most dangerous townships, KHA-YELITSHA is marred by drug and gang violence. But one man is tackling the problem head on: By keeping children off the streets and introducing them to traditional Gumboot dancing.

Crowded and crime ridden, this is Khayelitsha, one of Cape Town's poorest areas. There are few opportunities to escape its endemic poverty.

But Eric Xezu, who grew up here, thinks he's found a way out...through the art of gumboot dancing.

"Here I see there is a lot of crime in Khyalitsha now I try to remove the kids out of the streets and focus on the group to avoid the alcohol, rape and everything about the crime, when we do the group we see the crime just go little bit down," said Xezu, founder of Better Choice Dance Company.

 In an effort to help children deal with the violence around them, kids meet after school in this small garage where they learn traditional gumboot dancing.

In an effort to help children deal with the violence around them, kids meet after school in this small garage where they learn traditional gumboot dancing.

Gang violence is part and parcel of life in this township built by the apartheid state - - and a horrific reminder that Cape Town is the 20th most dangerous city in the world.

But in an effort to help children deal with the violence around them, kids meet after school in this small garage where they learn traditional gumboot dancing.

"When I see kids here doing gumboot dancing and practicing I feel happy because I do not want to see them smoking and doing drugs, when they come from school they do their home chores and then come to gumboot dancing and they don't have chance to do negative things. Other kids at their homes they have problems so when they come to gumboot dance they forget about their problems and focus on their gumboot dance," said Mzingese Xezu, dance instructor of Better Choice Dance Company.

Three times a week these kids escape the township's reality and attend the Better Choice Dance Company, where they hone their skills.

"I have been in trouble of stealing money at home and then I saw that was not good stealing from my parents so I decided to join gumboot dance and do the right things. i am proud of doing good things because it keeps me away from being at the corner with the gang and robbing people. I can now concentrate on my studies and do my home work and all the responsibilities at home," said Asowa Nabisi, Gumboots dancer of Better Choice Dance Company.

There is absolutely no funding coming through for this organisation. But despite the challenges Better Choice Dance Company has already helped many. And Eric XeZu hopes his efforts will continue to remove children from the cycle of violence, and bring hope and peace for generations to come. 

Follow us on

  • Please scan the QR Code to follow us on Instagram

  • Please scan the QR Code to follow us on Wechat